Everyone was looking forward to team practices, meets and matches. The weather was getting warmer; the sun was starting to shine more frequently. And then we were all asked to stay inside. While staying inside isn’t the worst thing in the world, many athletes are missing the thrill of competition and the connections with their teammates. So how do these athletes stay connected and engaged when they aren’t allowed to practice and play with their teams?
Athletes film themselves trying to accomplish cool tricks related to their sport. Basketball players try to do something amazing before swishing the ball through the hoop. Tennis players juggle the ball on the racquet in a unique way. Soccer players take a difficult shot at a small goal. Whatever challenge athletes come up with will work; the sky is the limit. All of the teammates can vote on the best video for a friendly competition.
Each member of the team (with the help of family ay home) catches the ball from one side of the video and creatively tosses it off in the other direction. Some athletes do this while demonstrating a unique skill, including a dog or cat cameo, or using interesting scenery (like a trampoline.) When the coach edits all the videos into one longer video, it appears as if each teammate is handing the ball off to the next teammate.
Meet virtually every few days to workout as a team. Everyone could use some toning and strength training during this time. Parents can help video their athlete as they workout to share with the team. The entire team will be improving and getting stronger together.
Plan to have a meal together via Zoom or Google Meet. You can have a team recipe to prepare before meeting up or everyone can share what they have prepared with their teammates. The coach can provide questions for discussions during their team meal—What is everyone eating for dinner? How is everyone feeling? What is everyone binge watching? What workouts have been successful? Athletes can eat, chat, laugh, and catch up with their team.
Determine a time for the team to go on a run “together.” Each athlete pairs up with another teammate to talk with via earbuds during the run. They can socialize while also pushing each other to make it through the journey.
NBA2K? MLB The Show? Why not? If the team is up for it, choose a time to host a video game tournament between teammates. Brackets can be created and a friendly competition can take place. Staying connected as a team during this strange time is possible. It will take effort, patience, and creativity from coaches and teammates, but these new activities can bring teams together in a way they have never bonded before.