The difficulties being presented by the Covid-19 pandemic have been well documented over the past few months. Entire societies across the globe have been rocked by the outbreak. It should be no surprise then that our own little micro-community in youth sports has similarly suffered.
From a player’s perspective, youth are greatly missing the social elements of simply being able to see their friends and teammates. They are obviously missing the ability to play together and to compete. Greater health concerns surround the increased inactivity being witnessed as a result of the lockdowns which ultimately have a negative impact on their physical and psychological well-being. With so much uncertainty around what a new season could even look like, it is important to reimagine new ways in which to achieve all the positive impacts of youth sports participation…
At Beyond Pulse, we are in a privileged position of being able to make contact with a number of youth soccer clubs and organizations from all across the country. A result of this is being able to witness some incredible efforts from clubs to support their players from afar. This has resulted in opportunities for clubs to reimagine how we teach players about the game. For example by providing more opportunities for match analysis through watching game footage or by expanding their overall knowledge of the history of the game through fun quizzes. Some clubs have even developed their own online learning environments, containing imaginative ways to challenge players remotely.
Additionally with Beyond Pulse, clubs have been able to integrate wearable technology to see the quality of players’ trainings at home and being connected with their activities. This shift to individual training has also brought increased opportunities for players to take greater responsibility of their own development. For example, some players have been tasked with creating their own work out routines and have used these opportunities to demonstrate their commitment to improving, by recording their sessions and sharing with their coaches.
What’s Next? Return to Play – for how long?
One of the key data points we have witnessed is that training at home seldom matches the intensity of workouts as a team. On average their is a 30% difference in a player’s output when they train individually vs. being in their normal group setting. Now this isn’t a reflection of a player’s lack of effort, it just further shows how difficult it is to match the team setting training environment when on your own. There are some tricks to try and close this gap, and the objective data received through a belt can certainly help with this. However, this difference in training intensity further stresses the importance of clubs needing to maximize the time they have with their players, especially in the new hybrid model of team/individual trainings being implemented for the start of the new season. Technology of this nature can similarly help coaches stay on track and maximize the efficiency of their team trainings through thoughtful planning, precise execution and honest feedback.
While clubs are making incredible efforts to return to play, the looming cloud of Covid-19 is still here and we are already seeing cases – particularly in the South – where state sanctions are being reimplemented. So with this uncertainty, how do we still stay focused on playing? We are here to support clubs, players, parents and coaches with the ability to record all their trainings, whether at home or on the field with their team mates.