With so many coaches slowly being brought back into schools, it is important that coaches know exactly what is expected of them. More often than not, each school you visit will be running under different policies and procedures so it is important to find out the specific guidelines for each school which you are working in. With that being said, we know there are a few basic rules that every school sports coach should know.
Before you arrive
You will have heard it over and over again but do not attend your session if you are showing any symptoms of COVID! You have a responsibility to the staff, pupils and parents to ensure that you do not pose a risk to their health. This includes making sure that you follow all government guidelines for your local area.
As you arrive
Every school will be likely to have anti-bacterial gel for you to use on arrival, so use it! Even if you have just used some, schools want to know that you are following the policies and procedures for their school. You should make sure to collect the register and to be made aware of any absences for the day.
Where possible, it is good practice to travel to your session location by going around the outside of the school.
In your set up you should have designed a session that follows the guidelines set out by the National Governing Body for the sport which you will be coaching. For example, when delivering a football session coaches should follow The FA's rules on how to deliver this safely.
Clean your equipment!
You should arrive with enough time to clean your equipment before the session starts. We have found the easiest way to do this is by diluting some Zoflora with water into a spray bottle. Then you just simply need to spray and wipe down the equipment! By using diluted disinfectant and adding water you shouldn't need to make so many trips to stock up on cleaning supplies! It is also more environmentally friendly as you won't be getting through so many single use plastic bottles.
Avoid using bibs
We have found that the practicality of cleaning bibs between every one of your sessions is not feasible. Because they are soft they can't just be sprayed like hard sports coaching equipment. Turns out, kids have an incredible memory for knowing who is in their team, try it, they will surprise you!
If you as a coach are struggling to remember who is in each team then you can still use bibs but make sure they are cleaned between each session! You can also leave bibs for 72 hours before re-using. However, the most recent scientific finding suggests that the virus can last on surfaces for up to 28 days so our advice would be if in doubt leave them out!
Deliver the session
The delivery is the best bit and we don't want children to fall out of love with sports because of all the restrictions that have been put in place. Every session should still be full of:
We might not be allowed to have a high 5 anymore but the energy that a coach can pass on from their voice will always be remembered by a child.
The coach should remember that because they are working across different bubbles, they must stay socially distanced from teachers and children whilst on site!
We suggest not asking children to pick up cones at the end of the session unless they are able to clean their hands immediately before and after.
Once collected, the coach should then spray the equipment again to ensure it is safe for the next session.
Once you have finished packing up, the coach will need to sign out from the school reception and should again do this by spending as little time inside as possible.
How will your next session go?
Every coach should be striving to make their next session better than the last. What will you implement to ensure that your children get the absolute best from their time with you?
Coaching during COVID can be difficult but by implementing some easy to follow steps, you should be confident in teaching sports in a school.