COVID-19 has impacted the entire globe in different ways. When it comes to youth sports, there was a lot of heartbreak with canceled seasons, there was some confusion and chaos as we pivoted to virtual and socially distanced events, and there was a lot of flexibility and grace for athletes everywhere.
We’re grateful to say that we’re moving forward and starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel, but there were plenty of lessons learned that we believe should live on even after the pandemic is in our rearview mirror.
The top lessons learned from a pandemic in youth sports:
It’s important to be flexible and accommodating.
Back in March as the entire country began shutting down and pivoting, we had no idea what to expect. Would youth sports be able to resume after a short lockdown? Was the entire season canceled? How long would the lockdown last?
Throughout the pandemic, we all asked these questions together, but each of us had our own separate concerns. Is my high-risk student safe? Will I have my job tomorrow and will I be able to pay for my student’s registration? How do I encourage my student to practice while we’re figuring out this virtual learning thing?
The pandemic taught us to be flexible and accommodating to each other’s unique circumstances and concerns.
Online registration and payment options can save the day.
If you’ve adopted online registration and payment options, you likely saw how helpful this was during the pandemic. As our country and youth sports began opening up once again, online registration kept everyone safe and allowed for parents to register students without needing to be in person.
Now that online ordering, communication, and more have become so normal, we can expect that online registration and payments won’t go away.
Never underestimate the value of community.
While the pandemic has been tough on everyone for various reasons, one positive thing it did was bring us closer together. You’ve likely felt it in one way or another, but what examples have you seen within youth sports?
We saw team members band together to keep morale up when they could no longer meet. We saw parents helping struggling parents pay for their students’ registration.
The pandemic reminded us that we’re more than just a team that competes together (or even against each other); we’re a community.
There are ways to connect with your team off the field.
When youth sports were canceled, students and families everywhere fought to find ways to connect with their team members in order to keep morale up.
Plenty of teams met outside in socially distanced areas to see each other in person again. Others set up video calls for the entire team so athletes could keep that connection. In a time that community and connection are so vital, especially for growing student athletes, we’re grateful for technology and other ways to keep community even off the field.
Communication is key.
For months, it seemed that everyone was glued to their phones, computers, and news sources for the latest updates on how the pandemic was affecting them. We were all searching for answers, so any type of communication was key.
This is something that shouldn’t go away. You should be able to easily communicate with your team members and trust that you’re receiving the most updated information from your team.
Fundraising gives us unique opportunities to help each other.
Over the last year, online fundraising has skyrocketed. Whether it’s a family that needs help after losing a job to the pandemic, a business that needs help keeping its doors open, or a team that needs help staying together, these fundraisers give us unique opportunities to come together and help each other.
We don’t believe the popularity or acceptance of fundraisers will go away any time soon, so now is the time to bring your community together if needed.
As tough as it’s been, we’re grateful for these lessons learned from the pandemic, and we believe that youth sports will only get stronger as a result.
What lessons have you learned from the pandemic?