Three months into 2020, the whole world has gone through a lot. Recently the COVID-19 pandemic has many coaches worried in the strength and conditioning industry. There are many pros to this situation as well as many cons. Over the course of this article I challenge you to see the light in this dark time and hope you can come out with a new perspective on this unique period in our coaching history.
Over the past couple weeks, some athletes will try to maintain while others will lose everything we have gained. In my professional opinion as coaches, use your time sparingly. If you are in a situation to provide workouts to athletes via TeamBuilder or Zoom meetings then do so. If not, advise your athletes that you are here as a resource if need be. Time is a commodity that can never be recovered.
In our field, layoffs can be very common from an administration or coaching turnover to your upsetting a head coach’s ego. If you have been temporarily laid off you have actually been granted a unique opportunity. Now is the time to gain new skills. It could be working for another institution, increasing your ability to network, or even the ability to learn a new language that can take your career to the next level.
Not knowing how long this pandemic will last will drive up anxiety in our field and might be cause for concern financially for a good majority of coaches. However, the detraining of our athletes and lack of our presence might actually raise our value long term with schools, colleges, and professional organizations as win/loss records fluctuate. If you are a coach who has been temporarily laid off and feeling some pressure, I challenge you to track the data points your athletes left at versus when they return relative to the season in the past. Show value to your program. This in turn can justify raises in salary or hiring that graduate assistant or assistant you’ve always wanted to hire.
Most people know that I love to network. If ever given the chance to get in touch with another coach or director…. I always try to. This can also bring us all together as an industry when sometimes it feels like we are world’s apart. Remember that you will only receive what you give. It is amazing to see more and more coaches who were not as connected get involved and share information with the other generations of coaches. From Zoom conferences to phone calls, you never know what you can learn or where your next big opportunity might be. Most of these calls are put up on the accredited organization website, coaching organization, etc. Go get involved.
A lot of major accredited organizations are offering the continuing education for free to fulfill requirements. It’s not every day that we see such a thing. Take time to review and assess what you need as most certifications will come to expire in 2020. Also note, as good as it is to learn new information…but what are you going to do with it? How can this benefit your program? Will it help me develop athletes physically? Mentally? Apply yourself and you would be surprised what you may be lacking and how these CEU’s can help.
I think as coaches, reflection is an area where we are really good or really bad. There is never much in between. Take time to look into yourself as a leader, husband, wife, friend, etc. Where were your mistakes in 2019 or early 2020? What can you learn from them? Do I need to develop new skills? New habits? Now is the perfect time for self-reflection while readjusting your programs. Without conflict, there is no growth. I challenge all coaches reading this article to find an area you have been lacking in and grow into it.
Every single coach I have talked to has been thrown into the fire to try and be as creative as possible. As budgeting for new equipment is an issue at a lot of institutions, you’d be surprised to find out how Home Depot, Lowes, and even mother nature can be your best friends. Some examples of ways of how I have been creative during quarantine:
In summary, you will see that this down time can actually help mold you into being a better coach and shed some light on how there are more pros than cons to the COVID-19 Pandemic for the strength and conditioning field. I do believe once this is all said and done, the industry will come out stronger than ever.
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