The Importance on Talking to Your Athlete About Returning to the Field

By Jon Buzby | Posted 5/22/2020

One thing we parents will probably never know is exactly how this pandemic affected our children socially and emotionally.

Unlike the touchdowns they didn’t score, passes that weren’t caught and interceptions that never happened, the social and emotional impact of what our children have gone through since March just isn’t objectively measurable.

For that reason, it’s even more important that we listen to our children as coaches start calling them back to practices, summer camps and other team activities.

I can’t wait for my kids to get back on the field. But to be honest, I haven’t asked them if they’re ready.

Are they physically and socially ready? Absolutely. They can’t wait to get back together with their teammates and have stayed in shape during the unexpected break. But showing up with a mask on and being told to stay 6 feet away from teammates is an experience none of them have ever had before.

Honestly, I don’t know how it’s going to go.

I’m a stark advocate that these first practices should be optional with no playing time consequences. Coaches need to understand that parents and kids all have different opinions about how we should be acting and reacting as a society at this point of the pandemic, and how we should ease back into whatever the new normal will be.

As parents, whether we agree with them or not, we are all listening to our government officials and health experts and making our own decisions of how we are following recommendations and rules based on a combination of what they say, what we believe, and what is in our control.

As we prepare to get back to playing sports, let’s not forget the most important voices in this process – the players. After all, they are kids first and foremost. They just might need more time getting adjusted into their new normal “life” routine before being thrown back into what will be unfamiliar, and for some, very uncomfortable, sports setting.

Or, they may be ready to go.

But there’s only one way to find out – ask them.

Stay safe and healthy.

Stay up to date with USA Football’s Return to Youth Football 2020 Guidelines that were recently shared with leagues across the nation.

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 and follow him @YouthSportsBuzz on Twitter.


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