It’s been almost two months since the English FA released a statement announcing that all grassroots football is to be suspended for the foreseeable future. Weeks later a further announcement was made on Thursday 26th March stating that all grassroots was at an end. So how are coaches adapting to life during lockdown?
We’ve seen several clubs and teams that have adapted during the cancellation of football, one main innovative methods we’ve seen is the use of different online meeting platforms such as: Cisco Webex, WhatsApp, FaceTime, Houseparty and ZOOM.
Our friends at Kirby Muxloe FC, based in Leicestershire, have their 1st team using the ZOOM application to run two HIIT fitness sessions a week to ensure that the players are continuing to maintain a level of fitness ready for pre-season. They have also to complete a 5km run and share that with the coaches to see if their time improves.
Applications such as ZOOM are proving to be the best form of keeping connected with players. For many it’s not only for the physical and technical elements it can provide, but more importantly for the social element and providing players, & coaches, a sense of normality.
Another reason why the use of online meeting platforms to connect with players can be so vital to your team/club is the state of mind. Mental health has been a subject of great interest in recent years and rightly so. Before the pandemic arrived many of us didn’t realise the power of participating in sport can have on individuals and a sense of release it was for them. For many the ability to socially interact with others during a sporting event has found that it can improve our physical, mental health and well-being state.
Using platforms such as above to connect with players, club members, coaches is exactly what some individuals may need during this difficult time of isolation.
What else can you do?
Along with providing group sessions, creating individual player programmes maybe another way to connect with players and seeing how they are getting on individually. Not only will it provides players a task(s) to focus on during isolation, but something to either improve on or even get better at.
Players can record themselves practicing and send back for the coaches to observe. Coaches could run live 1:1/group sessions to support their player programmes. It doesn’t have to complicated to set up or design, it’s actually relatively easy…below are some basic questions you could use:
- I want to get better at? – IE Using my left foot
- I want to get even better at? – IE Double step over skill
Players are not limited to only one option, they can have two or maybe even three options, but we recommend no more than three options over a 4-6 week period.
Coaches can create a short video of content to show the players how they can practice at home. No cones or equipment at hand for players, no problem, use rolled up socks or clothes as cones. Using a garage/house wall or a family member to pass against or rebound off can also be used to support their programmes.
Lastly, activities that are not directly coaching related is another great way to connect with players. For example, setting up and designing a fun quiz evening for the team/club, themes can be about them, the club or just football in general.
Let us know how you’re getting with this by tagging us on social media and we’ll retweet/repost your stories
Please keep safe, stay at home & protect the Health Service