As states and counties around the country lift coronavirus pandemic restrictions, coaches, athletic directors and sports organizers are working out how best to bring our kids back together.
While many parents of children who participate in organized sports are excited about this return to team sports, concerns remain about transmission of COVID-19 at practices and games.
It’s clear we will have to rely on each other to ensure necessary precautions are being taken to stay safe. Even more than before, it will be important to have a solid relationship with your kid’s coach.
While we’re counting on coaches to structure practices to maintain safe distancing measures–whether that means limited group sizes or staggered sessions–they are counting on us to ensure that we aren’t putting our kids in situations where they can be exposed outside of practice or game play.
Coaches will need to rethink team bonding. Things we had taken for granted, like high fives and huddles, might be a thing of the past. There will be no snack or water bottle sharing. Changes like these are going to be critical to a safe sports season.
Communicating these changes will be essential for coaches, and they will be counting on parents to reinforce these new programming norms. As coaches work to establish new boundaries around safety, it will be up to parents to support and work with them.
As we prepare to face our next normal, these three inCourage videos can help you and your child return to team sports safely and sanely.
The bottom line is simple: Parents and coaches are on the same team. Build a positive relationship with the coach.
Remember that the coach spends a significant amount of time with your child: It’s important that you know their expectations so you can work together to meet your child’s needs.
Here are a few quick tips to make that relationship a strong one:
- If a coach provides a chain of command for all communication, follow it. If they don’t provide one, reach out and ask what the best way is to contact them. The current situation means coaches will have to adjust as they go, so do your best to stay on top of the latest communication.
- It’s hard to keep your emotions in check when it’s your kid, but anger and yelling don’t make anyone’s experience better. This is a highly-charged time for just about everyone, so do your best to keep your cool.
- A positive attitude will go far, both on and off the field. Whatever your support role is, embrace it with the same enthusiasm you want your kid to bring to their role on the team.
Start your child’s sports experience on the right foot.
A parent is often the first person to introduce a child to sports, and they can make or break the experience. That is why it is so important to get things right in the first place. As we reenter the sports communities we’ve built and grown, we have a rare opportunity to have a do-over, to reset expectations.
As our children return to youth sports, now is the time to focus on promoting a positive experience:
- Celebrate their effort not their performance
- Winning isn’t the only important part of sports
- Failure is an opportunity to grow
Some of the choices that sports parents must make now can be extra anxiety-inducing but choosing to build a strong foundation now will help your child develop into a happy, healthy and active young adult.
Redefine what “success” will look like before your child goes to their first practice.
There’s been a lot of talk about the impact the COVID-19 crisis is having on our children. This could well be a time when our children develop skills that they may not otherwise have had the opportunity to acquire.
- This is an ideal time to encourage children to reflect on the attitude they bring to playing sports and to support them in developing a success mindset.
- This is also a good time for parents to rethink how success is defined. Time and financial commitments can cause parents to measure success based on unreasonable expectations. By removing that pressure, and focusing on the positive aspects of sports, every season has the potential to end with the satisfaction of a happy season of growth and shared experiences.
- We know that you’re juggling more than ever right now. It’s our hope that these videos help answer your questions, provide solutions to the unique challenges you’re facing as team sports return.
- You can help your child stay physically active and provide them with emotional security that will last them a lifetime, no matter what the universe throws at them.
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