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Getting Through Corona

I haven't written a blog for ages, mostly because I was picking up a vibe that people didn't have time to read blogs. I was, therefore using infographics to convey information, which I thought was a quick and easy alternative. However, in a matter of weeks our world has changed almost beyond recognition. Many of us have more time on our hands, or will do so in the near future and the need to stay connected and share ideas has become paramount.

I was involved in various sporting events over the weekend, namely British Rowing's Olympic Trials and a parents workshop at a local rowing club. I was not directly involved in the trials, merely connected to them via my stepson's involvement, but both events were affected by what is going on in the world and have thrown up some questions that I thought it was important to think about.

So I wanted to put pen to paper to offer some ideas for parents on how to support young athletes being unsettled by the effect Coronavirus is having on their sporting world. It's important to remember that the whole world is in the same situation, pulling together and supporting people around us will be much more beneficial than feeling resentful or unlucky about the disruption. For a young teen athlete, this situation represents a period of transition where routines are uncertain, support networks may change, motivation can dip and clear thinking can be in short supply. Much like any other type of transition – like an injury or a move to a new club or coach etc. there are definitely certain guidelines that will help.

  1. Keep communicating – with your child and with their coach and club. The 3 way triangle between coach / athlete / parent is a really important factor in easing the journey through a turbulent time for a young athlete.

  2. Keep communicating to the world at large – we are so lucky to be connected globally via the internet. If young athletes are losing out on the social side of being part of a team, look for ways to create that team spirit in a virtual way. Equally, hundreds of coaches and fitness professionals are making their online content free. You can join in with myriad sessions of yoga, HIT, spin etc. all from the comfort and safety of your own home.

  3. Keep to the facts – Public Health England has up to date information on the situation as it stands now. It is constantly changing, but they are constantly updating the advice. It's really important that we are responding to FACTS, and not rumours.

  4. Much like when an athlete has an injury, use this time to work on something independently. If competition and training sessions have been cancelled, take some time to work on future goals, identify weaknesses that need to be worked on – do that extra stretching, do a daily core strength routine, brush up on your mental strength training. There are so many benefits to a young athlete having a breather from the day in day out rigours of training and having time to reflect and rebuild.

  5. Stay positive – sport teaches us to be resilient and to look for the positives, and this is just an opportunity to practise those skills. Take one day at a time and look for the positives.

  6. Eat and sleep well – I always say that for young athletes food and sleep are the best legal performance enhancing drugs there are. Now we have an even bigger incentive to look after ourselves as we need to face this crisis with robust immune systems. What we eat and how well rested we are have a massive impact on our ability to fight off disease, and as parents we need to lead by example. Although we face food shortages or rationing in the near future, evidence suggests that the diet of young people during WWII was FAR superior to today's diet, so that really shouldn't be an issue. We have a responsibility to ensure that our families are as tough and healthy as they can be, so that we don't have to rely on the potentially overstretched NHS.

  7. Escapism - Try to have a bit of time each day when you indulge in something that takes you away from the stress of Corona – meditation? A flapjack? Your favourite Netflix show? Mood enhancing music? You get the idea!

Stay positive, stay safe and support each other – we've got this team.

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