As many states start to get answers about when coaches will be able to reunite with their programs, many others are left with more questions than answers about the start of summer activities for the optimistic start of fall sports.
States like Louisiana and Indiana recently heard from their state associations that they’d be able to start at the beginning of June. Meanwhile states like Michigan (and others) haven’t heard a peep and New York is facing the likelihood of a really late start to the season.
One thing from this whole COVID situation that is not debatable – coaches have, and will continue to have to adjust and adapt in a variety of ways. Already coaches have had to turn to virtual methods to keep in touch with their team and to do their typical off season install of stuff, but that is going to be just the beginning of the new normal we’ll all face heading into the 2020 season.
The goal of this article is to share some things on the horizon that head coaches and their staffs should be thinking about adjusting to as we all embark into uncharted territory.
Some of these aren’t any fun to have to think, or talk about. However, this is simply the new reality we’ll all face as we start to return to a new normal for the immediate future.
How will your off season prep look different?
Most of us have already had to turn to Zoom or Google meetings to do some virtual learning, but the real challenge is going to begin when we’re allowed to get back together. We’ve lost a few months in the weight room, and have to have a plan for how to get back into the swing of things at the appropriate pace.
Will your practice structure change, or remain the same?
Programs in states that have spring ball lost that time with their guys, while the question remains in many other states how / if the off season rules are going to be tweaked at all to allow for valuable lost time. If no concessions are made to allow for more time with your team, or limitations remain as far as how many kids you can work with at a time, then the staffs that find the best way to maximize their time are going to be the ones that are in the best shape heading into fall camp.
When the fall comes, are you going to (or are you willing to) make adjustments to your daily practice schedule and format to make up for some lost time, or will you keep things the same?
Will this change how you prepare your twos and threes on the depth chart?
Until a vaccine or cure is found, we will continue to live our lives with the likelihood that a player may contract COVID and be forced to quarantine for two weeks. Personally, as the off season has progressed, and the likelihood actually having a fall season with COVID still active and out there, the part of me that wants to confront potential problems before they’re on my doorstep looms larger and larger. It would be silly of us to gloss over the fact that it can’t happen to our program.
That thought process leads me to think that how we prepare everyone beyond the starters may look differently come summer and fall. How do you go about preparing the starters, and also making sure that your twos and beyond are ready if a few of them have their numbers called? I’m not sure I have a great answer to that today, but I think if you’re playing in the fall you should be asking you and your staff that.
Who is your second in charge?
It’s not a fun thing to think about or imagine, but it’s the reality of the world we’re living in today. In the unfortunate event that you or someone in your house contracts COVID and tests positive without a stay at home suggestion in place, you’ll likely be asked to quarantine for two weeks before returning. It’s important that you not only have an assistant head coach type guy in place that understands what it is going to look like to step into your shoes for two weeks, but to also at least be thinking of a plan in the unfortunate event that happens to one of your assistant coaches. Have that conversation with your second in charge.
Will you still hold the typical weekend staff meeting?
As I have talked to a number of coaches around the country for our online clinic and just during normal interactions during this pandemic, one small positive for the coaching community is that it has forced a lot of us to adapt. We’ve witnessed firsthand that productive staff meetings and installs can be done virtually in the comfort of our own homes. A few weeks before the pandemic, I laid out how our staff has managed our duties without any weekend meetings and provided the templates we used to do that. I think that simply being forced to operate without being able to meet in person has made a lot more coaches open to the possibility of not making coaches come in for weekend meetings.