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Posted in: General

Covid-19 - An opportunity to be Creative?

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  • cchapman

    We are in unprecedented times with social distancing, self isolation.  I spoke with a fellow coach who was working through how he could arrange virtual sessions for his son's U9 football team.  Considering how he would plan the session, engage the parents, keep the players engaged, involve the parents in feedback.

    It was a brilliant conversation and made me consider what other great ideas and approaches that coaches have been creating and using to support their participants.  What have you been doing?

  • cchapman

    From @LisburnTkd twitter response...

    Have everyone download the app, use as large a screen as possible and prepare at least 20 mins prior to class starting. You can mute or let everyone talk to one another which can become busy so manage the squad.

    Great way to interact with your team however and great way to train

  • cchapman

    More form @LisburnTkd

    Yes I’ve a WhatsApp group for all students and parents so easy to send the link to all parents at once. Every virtual class will have a new url to log into


    The zoom app allows up to 100 within a meeting. They can choose to have audio and visual on or off, this is all setup pretty much by their parents who are obviously at home with their children. If they all talk at once it can be hectic however within tkd it was ok


  • cpearsoncoachwiseltdukVA7R51XO

    I've been impressed with some of the stuff our U12 football coaches have been doing so far at our club. A couple have done streamed "garden sessions" with their teams via YouTube and Zoom. 

    In my team we've used the Heja app as a planning and organising tool for the last couple of seasons so I've adapted how we use it a little and tried to get the kids involved in sharing on it. I've set them challenges - starting with the toilet roll kick ups and asked them to upload a video of themselves doing it. I've also put the Joe Wicks YouTube PE lessons in the schedule for them to do on a morning. I've got a few other ideas where I'll pick two teams from my players and set other challenges to do individually where scores can be combined to create a team score to make it a bit more competitive.

  • jcoadyukcoachingorgSYRQSHZ2
    Sounds great Carl. Thanks for sharing. There's an interesting element around keeping connected but topping up on a little competition/ challenge during these isolated times is also great. Pencilling in some regular connection points is something that will be really important when we are a month or two into the remote working side of things.Familiarity, I think, will help people stay connected and feel confident that we are in a similar boat together and can keep us motivated.
  • jcoadyukcoachingorgSYRQSHZ2
    Hey Chris, I've been having some interesting conversations with coaches who are adapting their coaching. Parents communication has come up quite a bit which is great. Some other ideas from coaches have included .... 1. Lending equipment out so athletes can train at home with a programme 2. Having virtual tea and biscuit conversations and not just checking in on progress. 3. With gyms and leisure centres closing some coaches have changed their S+C approach to cycling and general strength training 4. Group workouts with the coach There also have been conversations around safeguarding and how important those considerations are during this move to virtual coaching.
  • AaronOC

    We had our first online session tonight with our U17 girls side via Zoom. It's a great platform to enable our team to keep in touch, and it helps with the boredom. They were missing their basketball practice so much, but the activities we ran meant they left the meeting with a smile. Roll on next Thursday!

    Zoom is free for meetings up to 40 minute duration, but fortunately we were able to use one of the parent's subscription for a longer session. 

  • cchapman

    Thanks for sharing Aaron; any lessons learned on your planning? Things you will change, and in the next session?  What was the girls feedback?

  • AaronOC

    Being the first session, I was conscious of the necessity to gauge how everybody was coping. So the first task was to canvas everybody to see how they've been affected and what their routine was like, and if they were doing anything novel or interesting that others could do/use. We also explored ideas and structure for future sessions.

    I had planned to do a physical workout with the team, but some were pretty limited with space, so with the exception of an improvised fun/physical activity, what I had planned from that perspective wasn't enacted. I have asked the girls to see if they can participate in the next online session in a more spacious part of the house, but we will probably have to continuously improvise.

    Our mental skills session went down a treat and the feedback was very positive, with the girls reporting being very relaxed afterwards. Overall, the feedback from the team was very positive. They recognised and welcomed the opportunity to 'meet' as a group and were missing the social interaction. Going forward it will be more about fulfilling their social and mental needs than physical needs. 


  • cchapman

    Found this gem from Adam Price, Clinical Psychologist who wrote 'He's not lazy: Empowering your son to believe in himself'

    Sheltering a Teen in Place Without Losing Your Mind

    How to keep teens safe and sane during the challenging days ahead.


    These difficult and uncertain times present a unique challenge to parents. Almost overnight your teen lost what they value most their autonomy, independence, and social connection. They may also feel adrift without a structure or routine. And of course, they too are worried about what the future might bring. Here are some suggestions to help keep them (and you) safe and sane during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Help them understand how serious this is: Many of the teens and college students I have spoken with underestimate the risk COVID-19 presents. As a result, they feel the restrictions put in place throughout the country are exaggerated and unnecessary. While its unreasonable to expect anyone to be happy and worry-free under these circumstances, acceptance of the "new normal" is crucial to help teens cope with the disruptions to their lives and to take necessary precautions.

    When a teen downplays the impact of this pandemic, they are not necessarily in denial. Certain aspects of adolescent development lead them to this conclusion. For example, recent research challenges the myth that adolescents don't accurately assess risk1.. They actually know when something has potential danger but put a different value on the risk than do adults. To them, the excitement of diving off a cliff or even sneaking out to a party outweighs the danger of getting hurt or caught. So right now, the need to hang out with their friends might outweigh the chance they could get infected.

    During adolescence, the brain changes almost as much as the body. Teens become much more aware of the world around them and better able to think abstractly. This leads them to new insights, ones they assume no one else has ever had. Combine that with a little teenage rebellion and you get a teen who thinks they know more than you if not everyone.

    In order to help them understand the threat this virus poses to our health and economy, first elicit their opinion (if you don't already know) but don't attack their point of view head on. That will only make them shut down. Say "you could be right," and then offer additional information or a different perspective. Here is an example:

    Teen: "Cancelling school and sports makes no sense. Everyone is overreacting to this virus."

    Parent: "I know this really sucks. You might be right, and I hope you are. However, things are much worse elsewhere. What's more, it might be better to look back and think we did too much than to wish we had done more."

    At this point, we believe that the risk of serious illness for teens and children is much smaller than for older adults. However, they need to understand that they can still get sick. Since this virus is so contagious, even if they feel OK they could spread it to someone else whose life might be at risk. Sheltering in place is not just about protecting ourselves, it is also about being a good citizen and protecting others.

    But don't freak them out: While we want our children to know that this situation is serious, we also don't want to make them overly anxious. Make sure you understand the facts by verifying what you hear from several sources. Don't rely on any one source, even if you really trust it. Then communicate the facts to your teen clearly, and on their level. Be honest, answer their questions directly, and tell them if you don't know something. Providing false reassurance will backfire when things get worse. Make sure you deal with your anxiety away from your kids so you can be as calm and objective when speaking to them. If they ask, however, it's OK to tell them that you too are scared or worried. But then remind them how everyone is pitching in to help and that its not a question of whether we can beat this virus, its a matter of when. It will also help everyone to create a "coronavirus-free zone" each day where you agree not to discuss the virus, perhaps during dinner.

  • cchapman

    During challenging times we can often over look what we are grateful for.  As our participants can be frustrated with the lack of activity and being indoors all day.  This is a great activity to do with a  group online, through parents as a family activity, through a email/messaging platform or direct to an individual via a safe platform. 

    Three Good Things exercise can help you overcome the forgetting of good things in your life and increases the meaning in them. When you slow down to look at the details, you have a greater appreciation for the small things that matter.

    1. At the end of today, think back on the good things that occurred.
    2. Write down three things that went well and why they went well.
    3. Use the VIA Classification and look for the strengths that you/others used.

    More information on the activity  You can even download the template

    The VIA Classifications are a superb reflection tool for coaches and their coaching team.  What are your strengths, what do you bring.  How about sharing this with your participants and asking them to do the same as a team? :-)

  • cchapman

    Great ideas and suggestions Jenny.  Have you seen the Key Movement Cards available for free on the Platform?  https://www.ukcoaching.org/resources/topics/downloadables/key-movement-cue-cards Lots of visuals and cues for participants to work at home with; along with progressions and a pocket guide for coaches.  Easy to download and share.  Example of the progressions below.

  • JennyC

    Hey Chris, 

    I just looked through them today. They are brilliant. The visuals and cues really give a well rounded insight. I will direct some coaches, parents and athletes to them as I think the level of differentiation helps support on a number of different levels whilst keeping workouts at home safe. 

    Thank you 


  • cchapman

    Shared by one of my friends from University; Marcus Shute is a PE Teacher and Dad...

    One of the good things that will come out of this horrible situation is that people will find interests, solutions, talents and possibly even careers (eg caring, teaching) that they might never have discovered. This is my first step to becoming a table tennis coach (specialising in dark, outdoor play). 😂


  • mshuteskycomGIX5GCXN

    Thanks Chris. My daughter is gutted that she can't train with her coach or play tournaments for a couple of months (maybe longer). But we do have lots of time to train now so I want to try and help her. I am out of my comfort zone because she is much better than me! Her coach is giving me feedback and tips through videos on WhatsApp. He improvises with his dining room table that has books instead of a net.

  • cchapman
    In response to...
    Carl Pearson created the following post

    I've been impressed with some of the stuff our U12 football coaches have been doing so far at our club. A couple have done streamed "garden sessions" with their teams via YouTube and Zoom

    The players setting their own challenge and competitive approach sounds great.  It reminds me of when I did some work with the Scottish FA and they had a number of skill tests and the regional players didn't take them seriously.  After a visit to Brazil, where they videoed some of the tests that were the same; they posted these for the players.  They shared the Brazilian average and created leagues from the regions and individuals.  The effort, practice time and ability improved dramatically.

    As we have seen with the professional players toilet roll challenge the use of video can be very powerful.  We created a number of 60 second hand/eye coordination challenges in the three Rugby League Academies; the players had to record their video and post; with a leader board.  Even the coaches got in on the challenge.

    The isolation creates challenges and opportunities... individual challenges, sibling/partner challenges within the household, Mum's my mate challenges, Dad's and Lad's, Dad and Daughter... The list and options are endless.

    You may remember the professional club Academies began the bin challenge and even the first teams got involved MAN CITY VS THE BIN CHALLENGE

    I have also attached the Crazy Catch One Minute challenge which could easily be adapted to using a ball

    Thanks for sharing :-)

  • parallelcyclecoachinggmailcomAFDLSL39

    Hi all,

    I did an indoor cycling Zoom session yesterday - it was great and have also learnt some useful lessons to pass on.

    Things that went well:

    • Sent out joining instructions with FAQs around bike set-up and format
    • Unmuted during warm up and cool down so that riders could have some social chat
    • Muted during main session so that everyone could hear me - riders had to wave if they had a question / didn't understand so I could unmute and help.

    Improvements for next time:

    • I'm going to use 'share screen' so I can have written cues. I hope this will make my session more accessible for some riders and also aide comprehension while riding
    • Signing in - looking in to a Google docs way of doing this so I have emergency details etc on hand.

    My overall conclusions are that I would have never thought of running a session like this before the outbreak. It's pushed me to be more creative and wonder what else is possible?

  • cchapman

    Thanks for sharing Heidi.  I have seen a teacher suggest that parents complete an emergency consent and web session consent form and eSign it back to them.  As you say people are being far more creative.

  • parallelcyclecoachinggmailcomAFDLSL39

    Thanks Chris. It's definitely upped my digital skills!

  • Wendyrussell

    I think these times have allowed me to develop how to engage my junior players when not "physically" training them. With the adults I have been carrying on looking at how to bring my adult players closer as teams and looking at not just the playing and training part of the sport.

    The junior players have been sent little video clips to practice things. They are not compulsory, more something to get them outside (if they can) and also out of people at homes hair for a few moments haha! They also then have to get creative and can send me something back in a direct chat! (This is not in big group chat) 

    With the adults I have sent them all kinds of random things- yes I did a toilet paper activity! But a giant game across 6 teams, they did a draw them self challenge and played hockey to music using hitting the ball to create the beat in the music! They have loved this, as for  them these groups and teams are friends (some even extended family) and going from seeing each other twice or more times a week to nothing! So helped kept them connected #mentalhealth 


  • cchapman

    Thanks for sharing Wendy, great ideas for other coaches to use.

    I spoke to a catch yesterday and we were discussing using the time with athletes to develop positive affirmations.  Sent me on a revisit on my thinking and a fantastic book I read by Dave Alred.  I will post the summary and tips as well.  It may be useful for you.

    Stay safe. Chris

  • cchapman

    A great friend to Connected Coaches and me, Sophia Jowett kindly offered to share her advice here for coaches on Long-Distance Coach-Athlete Relationship 

    Coaches and athletes usually develop typical coach-athlete relationships. A typical relationship is defined as one where coaches and athletes interact face-to-face on a daily or regular basis. In atypical coach-athlete relationships, a coach and an athlete choose to work long-distance. Due to the current situation created with COVID-19, coaches and athletes need to adjust to long-distance working modes with one another. Moving to a long-distance coach-athlete relationship can pose certain challenges...

    See the attachment for more ideas and tips.

    Thanks Sophia for taking the time to share, and support fellow coaches; very much appreciated.

    Stay Safe all

  • cchapman

    Jacquie Marshall, an alumni of the Women Into High Performance programme and Head Coach at Northampton Swimming Club took to social media with her Performance 1 Swimmers for a nutrition and life skills session...

    Today Performance 1 Swimmers have trialled out an online coking class called ‘Cooking with Jacquie’ 👩🏽‍🍳 🍗 🥗

    Swimmers were set the task of making oat crusted chicken tenders. Swimmers had to prepare all ingredients and then cook from scratch. Feedback so far has been that they were Delicious!!!!!!🤤 

    They look very good to me!

    Want to give it a try with your athletes?  We have lots of recipe cards to help you and your athletes https://www.ukcoaching.org/resources/topics/downloadables/subscription/recipe-cards

    Northampton Swimming Club's photo.
    Northampton Swimming Club's photo.
    Northampton Swimming Club's photo.
  • Wendyrussell

    Hi- I listened to a podcast with Stu on The talent equation where affirmations where mentioned. 
    So definitely interested in this book! As feel many coaches are as he put it "deficit detective" or can just praise for praising sake! This is something I have been working on for the past few years, and want to take to the next level! 😊👍🏻

  • cchapman

    Hi Wendy, How have you been working on this with your athletes? I actually started focusing on this after using Tandem with one athlete and a review with another.  At the time I was their international coach and asked about the feedback they received from their domestic coach; as you said it was very much 'glass half empty'.  This highlighted the need for me to focus further on strength based coaching; exploring individuals needs and the use of cues, initially coach driven affirmations, re framing and then athlete affirmations. 

    The power of a note is massive.  When I posted, two of my former players responding.  One saying they still have the notes from the World Cup in 2017 and another saying that she has all the notes and affirmations we created together and reads one before her games, adding she misses them.  They were written in 2015-2017!

    I think a lot of coaches are not aware of the power of words, body language and the written word.  During this difficult time, it provides an opportunity for virtual one to ones, discussions and with modern technology its relatively easy to communicate virtually, send notes/pictures of notes and start to develop their 'inner game'

    Looking forward to hearing how you have been tackling this

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