March 30, 2020

Quarantine Objectives for Athletes and Coaches

During this period of social distancing, it can be tough for both athletes and coaches to stay on track and working towards long term goals.  With schools closed, training on hold, state tournaments canceled, and summer events like Fargo in question, it can be tempting to throw in the towel.

I want you to stop right there.

Look at the big picture.

Every situation, no matter how dire, presents an opportunity, you just have to find it.

So what can we do?

How can we make the most of our current situation?

I’m going to help you.

I’ve created two lists - one for coaches and one for athletes - that will help you make the most of every day during the pandemic.  It can be easy to drift thru these days at home with no structure or no clear objective, but I guarantee that those who take advantage of this time to improve will still be standing when things return to normal.

Athletes - Quarantine Objectives

1. Set your Alarm- no more sleeping in.  Get plenty of rest, but wake up around when your normal time would be.  I normally wake up around 4:15am - I’m sleeping in until 5:15am but still waking up and being productive.

2. Schedule your Day- athletes such as yourself are used to daily structure: school at this time, practice after school, etc.  Don’t just wake up and say “I’m going to workout later”.  Not know ing when you’ll do something makes it easier to skip.  Schedule these things daily: workouts, online school work, film study, personal development/reading - and know exactly when you will do them.

3. Follow a nutrition plan- don’t make the mistake of binging on junk food because you are bored.  It will still be shirtless weather in a few months whether we are quarantined or not - a few months of eating like a pig can set you back the entire summer.

4. Focus on your Weaknesses- remember how you thought you would get strong hamstrings if you only had the time? Well, you have the time now.  Start incorporating daily workouts and exercises to address your weak points, whatever they may be.

5. Improve your flexibility/mobility - this is something most athletes treat as an afterthought, and I admit it falls well below most other items on my strength and conditioning priority list.  Use your extra downtime to take up yoga - there are thousands of yoga routines on youtube, try one each day until you find an instructor or series that you like.

6. Watch film - now would be a good time to watch and access your matches from this past season.  Give yourself some honest feedback? What needs to improve? Why did you lose certain positions?  Think critically and find ways to address the underlying problems.

7. Get outside- don’t stay cooped up in your house staring at your phone day after day.  Get outside for fresh air and to exercise daily.  Even if you don’t need to work on your conditioning right now, going for a long run a few times a week is great for mental health as well as your aerobic base.

8. Weekly Challenge - pick something new each week outside of your normal training to work on.  Learn to walk on your hands.  Master a muscle up.  Finally hit that 6 minute plank.  Anything you’ve been intrigued by, now is the time to work on it and conquer it.

Coaches - Quarantine Objectives

1. Communicate- just because you don’t see your athletes every day at practice doesn’t mean you can’t influence and motivate them.  Call them.  Send out a mass email.  Better yet, set up a weekly Zoom conference call with your team to go over their (solo) training plans for the week and hold them accountable.

2. Self Educate - the resources at our fingertips are staggering.  Have you always wanted to learn John Smith’s low single or how to teach hand fighting like Tervel Dlagnev?  The info is out there, whether its a youtube video, a book from Amazon, or an online course, now is the time to learn so you will be a better coach after this is over.

3. Continue to Coach - one way you can do this is by aggragating Flo or youtube videos for your team to watch.  Each week make a list of X amount of matches and send the links to your team.  Maybe it’s just fun high level matches you want them to enjoy, or maybe you pick a theme - the best top wrestlers in the past 10 years, for example.  Send a set of questions for them to answer and return after viewing.

4. Assess, Organize and Create- honestly access your program and decide how you can fill in the gaps.  Create documents that you can use each season.  Organize them in Google Drive to share with your coaching staff.  Take things that were verbal or missing - room rules, team conduct, preseason training objectives - and put them “on to paper”.  This will make them more real and save you work each season going forward.

5. Train Yourself- you knew I wasn’t going to let you guys off that easy, right?  Now more than ever, it’s important for you to lead by example.  If your daily quarantine routine is Netflix and Budweiser, how can you expect to inspire your athletes from a distance?  On the flip side, if you use this time to finally drop that extra 20lbs that’s been weighing you down, it will serve as a huge motivation to your athletes to keep working hard on their own.

Remember - we are all in this together.  The majority of people are going to backslide during this time and lose any type of momentum they once had.  That doesn’t have to happen to you!  Eventually when life returns to normal, be ready to hit the ground running!

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