It’s easy for us parents to think that our kids should bounce right back into the spring season like the pandemic never happened.
The spring sports season is the only full season that the pandemic completely wiped out at all levels and in all states across the country.
So, while we might think that everyone can’t wait to get back on the fields and courts and courses, there are still players and coaches who will be hesitant.
For the coaches, it most likely will be because they are a little leery about returning to play. Even though vaccination numbers are rising, cases in most states leveling off, and mask-wearing becoming more the norm at all venues, the reality is that the virus is still here and reports that others are beginning to surface.
Players at the youth sports and high school levels probably don’t care much about the spreading of the virus. The innocence of youth works in their favor in that regards as long as they continue to follow their local pandemic protocols.
A player’s hesitancy instead might stem from missing a full season and questioning whether or not their skill level is still high enough to successfully compete. While some probably still went to batting cages during the offseason or threw a lacrosse ball against a wall or with friends, many others didn’t have that opportunity.
The reality is, the first live pitch a Little Leaguer sees this spring might be the only one they’ve seen since last March before the season officially shut down. The same holds true in all other aspects of every other spring sport.
As parents, we need to expect and understand this, and work with our kids, and communicate with coaches why our own children might not be playing up to par. Or in some cases, might not be excited to play at all.
We say it all the time: Every child is different. This saying is important to remember as they return to the practices and competitions.
Like the pandemic, they will get through it. It just takes patience – from everyone involved.
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.
At USA Football, we've got your back as you begin to go back to the field. Our recommendations for a responsible return are here – guidelines, infographics, videos, checklists and more.