As states begin to gradually reopen it’s only going to be natural for coaches and parents to want to get their players back on the fields.
Parents have to be diligent about continuing to enforce social distancing rules until governors call them off. Now, that doesn’t mean players can’t go to a team training activity. However, volunteer training activities – and they should be just that, i.e. not mandatory – should only happen if social distancing measures can be followed. Also, keep in mind that training should only take place on fields that are legally open. What kind of a message does it send to the kids if teams are sneaking onto the local field that has been shut down?
Stretching and other fitness activities can certainly be conducted without players coming within 6 feet of each other. But it’s imperative that parents reinforce this to their children before they drop them off and coaches do the same throughout the practice. It’s too easy to get caught up in the celebration of finishing a tough training drill and want to congratulate each other with a high-five. But that can’t happen right now.
Any drill or activity that involves even a chance of contact of any type can’t happen. Having a walk-through to review offensive plays is probably as close as you can get to a live scrimmage. And don’t forget, if players are playing catch of any kind, it should be with both wearing gloves.
Even once states completely open up, everyone needs to keep in mind that coaches and parents, and in some cases even players, will have their individual opinions on how safe it is to be back together. Those opinions should not be questioned, but rather, be respected.
Like we’ve witnessed firsthand throughout the handling of this pandemic at every level, it’s not always the decisions and mandates that are made from above that make the biggest difference, but rather it’s how people react to them that can create an even bigger impact.
Stay safe and healthy.
Jon Buzby has been involved in and writing about youth sports for the past 30 years with perspectives as a parent, coach and board member. Jon is an award-winning writer and his latest book, “Coaching Kids Made Easier,” is available on Amazon. Send comments or future blog topics you'd like to see to JonBuzby@hotmail.com and follow him @YouthSportsBuzz on Twitter.
It's important to exercise, but that can be hard if you're stuck in the house. USA Football’s 60 Ways to Play Guide is pack full of at-home exercises and workouts for the whole family.