coaching covid-19 scott ford virtual

By Scott Ford

As coaches, we’ve all been on lock-down during the Covid-19 pandemic, and now, as we transition back into coaching, we are also transitioning forward into new coaching territory. If all goes well, soon we will be going back to our pre-virus jobs after months of in-virus seclusion watching Covid wreak havoc on the world.

How can we structure our post-virus programs to include the best of our pre-virus programs along with any in-virus training we might have used to stay physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually fit during our in-virus lock-down?

This 1-2-3 sequence of pre-virus - in-virus - post-virus coaching lets us examine the past, present, and future of our coaching programs under the assumption that they will eventually return to normal. The question is, what will this “new normal” look like?

A) Like it actually looked pre-virus.

B) Like it virtually looked in-virus.

C) Like a combination of our best actual and virtual training practices, giving us a post-virus coaching program that transcends and includes its earlier versions.

As we transition forward into post-Covid coaching, our options are to go back to the old normal, or to consciously develop a new-normal that includes the best of our pre-virus, actual practices, but then transcends the past with the addition of in-virus, virtual practices that are developing right now, in the present.

Both are legitimate options. In Option 1, we go back to what we knew, back to our coaching comfort zone, remaining true to our actual practices while excluding any virtual practices. Remain and exclude. That’s Option 1.

Option 2 is the transcend and include option that integrates our actual and virtual programs into an integrated post-virus program. And the best thing going for our post-virus program is that it’s already prepared for future pandemics.

Here’s a simple yes-no question: Will your post-virus program be prepared for future pandemics?

A) Yes, my post-virus program includes virtual practices.

B) No, my post-virus program excludes virtual practices.

This yes-no question sticks development right in the face of coaching. In a world that will never be the same, can developmental coaching ever return to normal?

Parts of it can, yes. But any post-virus program that excludes virtual, in-virus training will be caught once again with its pants down. Coaching programs without virtual training will be found lacking, coaches included.

So, if your present coaching program excludes in-virus, virtual training, then you’ve got a potential problem in your coaching future. Fortunately, virtual training can be made available to your players right now, either by you or by other coaches who have already developed online programs. This is not to say that you need to develop a virtual coaching program yourself, but providing your players with the best virtual coaching available in your sport is an appropriate addition to any coaching program.

Podcasts, zoom calls, one-on-one training via whatever technologies are out there can, and should be included in preparation for an expected 2nd wave in the fall. You don’t have to develop an online program yourself to develop a virtual coaching package that can be used before, during, and after a 2nd wave, should there be one.

If Covid-19 is defeated, all the better. Your post-virus program will already have integrated online practices for off-season training. And if Covid-19 returns, your virtual program is ready to go on Day 1. Virtual training, once integrated into your overall program, is readily available when actual training is suspended, which will happen when Covid.2 hits the field.

Preparing for a future without virtual training leaves your program lacking. At best, your post-Covid coaching program will include actual and virtual training. At worst, you’ll be caught with your virtual pants down.

Is this a call for virtual training to be included in your overall coaching program? Yes, it is. The future of coaching will include technologies designed for virtual training at all stages of player development. Our own development as coaches includes developing both our actual and virtual training programs.

Option 1: Remain and Exclude.

Option 2: Transcend and Include.



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