Just a few months after the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, sports activities and training in groups were paused for the second time. Coaches once again have to turn to virtual platforms, in an attempt to motivate young athletes to continue exercising as much as possible.
According to the World Health Organization, kids’ physical activity is paramount. Based on their analysis: children and youth should get at least 60 minutes of physical exercise per day. For young athletes, who are used to having several practices a week in addition to game nights, this shouldn’t be a problem. However, without coaches and teammates, it can be much less motivating.
Here are 10 ways to train differently to keep kids motivated and active:
1. offer a selection of exercises at home for kids via YouTube.
YouTube offers a multitude of workout videos that are sure to suit everyone’s tastes. As a coach, take the time to gather capsules that will challenge athletes at home. Alone or with their family, kids will be able to choose the training that suits them and also vary from one day to the next. Here is an example of a training capsule to do at home.
2. Continue to practice in pairs.
Although team sports are prohibited, it’s still possible to practice sports in pairs under certain conditions. You can do your weekly training outdoors with one of your teammates if the 2-meter distance is respected. Just like adults who train together, young athletes like to motivate themselves by practicing their sport with another person. This is different from training alone or with a family member, in addition to the social aspect being present.
3.Reverse the roles: from athletes to coaches!
Why not reverse the roles once in a while? Give a series of exercises to your young ones so that they can put themselves in the role of the coach during a training session and show their parents the exercises they are used to doing. Involving the parents once in a while can change the dynamic of the workouts.
4. Challenge them!
For young athletes, there’s nothing like a sports challenge to motivate them to train. It’s important for kids to stay connected with each other during this time. Don’t hesitate to give challenges that involve taking pictures or filming themselves and that will allow them to interact with each other afterwards.
Here are a few suggestions for sports challenges to be done alone or with teammates at home:
- Suggest the use of applications such as Strava or Runkeeper and encourage them to go for a run. For example, one challenge could be to ask them to run 1 kilometer a day for 10 days and share their results on Classroom.
- Have them do one workout a week away from home and take a picture of each location where they trained and have them explain why they chose that location for their workout.
- Challenge them to create an obstacle course in their backyard with the exercises from their usual routine, filming themselves doing it and then sharing it with their teammates.
- Ask them to create a workout and present it to their teammates via Zoom.
- Parents should challenge their kids to step out of their comfort zone. Ask them to do household chores, to cook, to invent a dance, or learn a new sport. This will help them mentally and will allow them to get back on their feet once they return to training.
- Encourage your young athletes to see this forced break as an opportunity to hone their individual technical skills and master their craft. Why not organize an online skill contest afterwards? With the return of outdoor rinks fast approaching, have your young athletes perfect their penalty shots and puck control, for example.
Sports activities for young people are essential in everyday life and it is even more so during this unusual period. The sense of belonging and the need for accomplishment are very important for kids who are in sports teams. This is why it is important to stimulate your children with a variety of sports activities to ensure that they continue to progress and that they do not lose their motivation to train. The goal is to ultimately create and implement healthy exercise for the kids, but to also bring fun into it.
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