Coaching Sport Safely During Covid-19


of Canadians believe organized sports and group physical activity will be important in helping society rebuild and recover from the pandemic

From online coaching to new safety guidelines, there are many new measures coaches must implement to ensure the health and safety of all participants.

The COVID-19 pandemic is an evolving situation. Please refer to the Ontario Government’s COVID-19 resource page, and the provincial Return to Play guidelines for the most up-to-date information.

Online Coaching

Many coaches have made the transition to online/video training sessions during the pandemic to help their athletes maintain fitness, set goals and stay in touch with their teammates. The availability and accessibility of video conferencing tools is a fantastic way to keep the lines of communication open and sustain cohesion during this time. However, this format does come with some new safety considerations (such as the Rule of Two for online communication) that all coaches must consider in order to maintain a safe and transparent training environment.

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Adapting to Sport During COVID-19

From health screening questionnaires and contact tracing to social distancing and participant waivers, coaches will have a number of new processes to put into place as each sport is able to resume. It is important to explain to your athletes why these protocols have been put into place and how following them will help to keep them and their families healthy and safe.

The Ontario government, in partnership with independent leaders in the sport and recreation sector have identified and compiled safety guidelines that will help Ontarians return to play safely.

As the pandemic continues to be fluid, it is recommended that coaches stay-up-to-date on the province’s return to play guidelines, as well as their individual sport’s return to play action plan.

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Returning After a Layoff

As each sport is able to resume, it is important that coaches outline training plans that will allow their athletes to return safely. Too much, too soon after any prolonged absence can result in injury, re-injury and overall loss of enjoyment in your sport. Remember to stay up-to-date on provincial guidelines, followed by your sport’s return to play protocol to determine when it is safe to return to the playing field.

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Looking After the Mental Health of Your Athletes

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a stressful experience for everyone to navigate, and it’s important that ever for individuals to safeguard their mental wellness. For athletes at every level, COVID-19 has disrupted their training and routines and undermined a major pillar of their identity. As a coach you help to support them by scheduling regular phone or video check-ins that are focused on emotional health, being open about how you look after your own mental wellness and connecting athletes with professional resources when necessary.

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