Should Parents Force Virtual Training?

By Jon Buzby | Posted 1/8/2021

Happy New Year! (not sure how long we are supposed to say that). 

If you’re like me, you’re sick of all this virtual stuff. From meetings to conferences to trainings to family gatherings, we spend more time staring at a screen than ever before.

Imagine how our kids must feel. Especially those still involved in virtual learning from home.

When the option of virtual sports practices or trainings is offered to our kids, we are fortunate that their coaches graciously make them optional. For many teams, they serve more as a social gathering than a workout, or as a way to force physical activity.

Our kids’ social lives thrive in our neighborhood, safely socially distanced outside biking and running around, playing a variety of activities that we parents agree are safe. Therefore, they also get plenty of physical activity.

For those reasons combined with the fact that they are online learning four days a week from home when it comes to their virtual trainings or practices, we leave it up to them whether or not they want to participate. Sometimes they do and other times they don’t. 

What we don’t allow is for that virtual training time to instead be spent in front of a screen. If the excuse to miss a virtual training is to battle in Fortnite with a friend, watch something on Netflix or catch up on Instagram posts, it’s not allowed. The screen part that is, they can still choose to skip the virtual training and instead shoot hoops, play ping pong or sometimes even walk the dogs. 

For some kids, virtual trainings might be a great way to socially engage and physically participate in ways that otherwise can’t happen. But for ours, it’s just more time spent on a screen and that’s why we make them optional. 

Hopefully, virtual trainings will soon be a thing of the past, but until they are, take a minute to evaluate if what your kids are getting out of them is worth the time spent engaged on them. 

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.


USA Football's model for youth football is designed to make the game safer by reducing contact and by teaching the game based on an athlete's age, the skill they are learning and game type.