The global response to the COVID-19 pandemic is creating new challenges for school athletics departments. Schools across the United States are closed for the remainder of the academic year, and with that, the spring sports season is definitively canceled across the country. How are schools and their athletics departments navigating this transition and staying connected to their student-athletes, staff, and supporters?
At USGreentech, we want our vast network of school officials to adapt to these unprecedented times as seamlessly as possible. Spring sports may be canceled, but don’t throw in the towel just yet. Here are some tips for making sure your athletics department is poised for success during this current season of uncertainty.
Rallying school spirit
Coaches, student-athletes, and athletics department staff are experiencing an unusual level of social isolation. In the absence of daily practices and regularly scheduled games, it’s essential to keep morale up in your community.
Use your school’s website and social media platforms to celebrate school spirit and honor your student-athletes and staff. For graduating seniors and competitive athletes who wanted to advance to the college level, the cancellation of the spring 2020 sports season is an irreplaceable loss, so be sure to focus on these students in particular. We encourage you to submit students to be featured on the Motz Group’s MVP spotlight.
Marysville High School showing support for their Seniors on Twitter (source)
Examples of online activities to boost morale
There are a number of creative ways that school coaches and athletics directors are using to engage and recognize their students online. Our friends and Envirofill turf infill customers at Marysville High School’s athletic department are doing an exceptional job utilizing social media to unite and inspire their community. Marysville’s athletic director, Joey Day, shared that “this is a weird time for students who can’t see friends and coaches. A lot of times students spend more time with their coaches and fellow athletes than their families during sports seasons. School is a safe place. We want to protect that and keep everyone connected.”
Marysville High School community decorating the doors for Seniors (source)
One of the school’s campaigns challenges students to post photos of athletic competitions, practices, community service projects, and team functions with the hashtag #MyMonarchMemory. The school is also publicly honoring individual student-athletes by turning on their field lights as part of a broader movement of high schools and colleges across Ohio, as well as checking in on their student-athletes’ mental and physical health via Twitter.
Marysville High School Twitter post (source)
Keeping teammates connected
Empower individual coaches to have regular, direct contact with their student-athletes. They can provide workout plans to encourage healthy competition amongst players and organize virtual team meetings. Use virtual meetings to plan for the upcoming year, make sure students’ academic needs are met, and provide a forum for checking in and sharing feedback about how your school can better serve student-athletes.
Using downtime to improve athletic facilities
Right now, your grounds staff will have less upkeep than normal but do make sure that your crew stays on top of your field maintenance routines and uses this time to ensure safety compliance of your facilities. The canceled season gives your department an opportunity to focus on time-consuming facility updates and ground renovations, from floor resurfacing of gyms to synthetic turf field installations.
You’ll be ahead of the game if you use this time to develop a strategic response plan for the reopening of your school facilities and programs. State associations and government guidelines will dictate the circumstances of a “new normal” when fall sports programs begin. Collaborate with your department staff now to anticipate and plan for changes so your employees, students, and their families adapt to new circumstances easily in the fall.
Most importantly, encourage your athletics department staff and facilities crew to take care of their well-being through exercise and spending quality time with family. Your school will be stronger for it.
Be as tough as your synthetic turf sports field
Good communication and creative problem-solving will help your school’s student-athletes, athletics department, and larger community weather the storm of uncertainty and change. With a little planning and effort, your school will be as resilient as your artificial turf field installed with Envirofill.
We’re in this together
If there’s anything we can do to aid in your school’s success, please let us know. Reach out to the USGreentech team. We’re rooting for you and we’re right alongside you developing a winning game plan for the future of athletics.