Coaching Through COVID-19

Compiled by Gary Dolley

SA Hockey Project Manager & COVID-19 -19 Compliance Officer

The Covid-19 pandemic have severely impacted all spheres of our lives. With so many unknowns, uncertainties, and restrictions, we cannot continue to function in a pre-COVID-19 environment and mindset. Our relevance and impact will depend on our knowledge of the virus, our adaptability, awareness, innovation and being responsible & accountable for our behavior.

One of the modules within our coach education curriculum is risk assessment and creating a safe environment for the participants. Thus, within the current COVID-19 environment a key role & responsibility of the coach is to mitigate the risk.

The preventative and pragmatic measures of:

[i] health screening

[ii] washing of hands

[iii] wearing of masks

[iv] social distancing

[v] sanitizing

[vi] avoid large gathering

[vii] not attending activities if you display any COVID-19 -19 symptoms

[viii] recording and proper records keeping for tracking purposes

must be non- negotiable when engaging with participants. The coach must conduct a thorough risk assessment and ensure that the risk profile for the activity is low [ decrease the number of participants & increase the distance between them, take the activity outdoors, follow the preventative measures]

It is highly recommended that the coach becomes a covid-19 compliance officer and adhere to the guidelines as stipulated in the Return to Play protocols. The additional role & responsibility of the coach as an administrator/caregiver/organizer is in line with the multi-faceted role of the coach with our coach education curriculum.

A general rule to maintain physical distancing while engaging in physical activities is that all participants must maintain 3 stick lengths in all direction all the time.

Depending on the alert level and the risk profile the coach can still focus on the whole – person:

[i] physical development: within your own person space & individually

[ii] technical skills:  within your own person space, individually, small groups, skills challenges & skills test.

[iii] tactical skills development:  small, sided games with added constraints & conditions – no tackling rather challenging, no running with the ball rather passing. Social distancing games promoting the concept of spatial awareness.

[iv] social interaction & emotional well – being: regular updates & communication & using social media to stay in touch.

Human beings by nature are social creatures and we need interaction with others to keep us sane. Thus, the emotional wellbeing of our participants within the COVID-19 -19 environment is critical.

Some modifications, adaptations & adjustment.

  1. Individual skills circuits obstacle courses incorporating fundamental movement skills& ball skills.
  2. Technical skills in pairs.
  3. Small sided conditional games
  • No tackling with teammates and defenders 3 stick lengths away from player in possession.
  • Defenders encourage to channel – apply pressure & focus on correct angle of engagement.
  • Passing distance 3 stick lengths – only push passing
  • Player in possession only allowed to move 3 steps then he must pass.

4.Hockey Rounders

4 bases & outfielders – Fielding team

5 batters – Batting team

5. Sideline hockey

Each group divided into active & sideline players. The objective is for the active players to move the ball over the end line of the defending group/team. The sideline players keep the ball from going out and pass it back to the active players. Active players rotate with sideline players.

6. Three Zone Hockey

2 groups 6

Each group is divided into 3 equal groups of defenders, midfielders & attackers. The defenders stay in defence zone, midfielder in midfield zone & attackers in attack zone, where they can score a goal by pushing the ball of the goal line. The same set up applies for the other group.

By using your imagination, you will be able to come up with many safe & fun activities that is low risk and compliant with the current challenges.

Awareness and education is the key in staying safe.

Stay Active.

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