FUTURE OF SPORTS COACHING- COVID-19

Giuseppe Taouss

It has been a sport-less past few months across Scotland. All sports that make a living are on a hold; no football, no old firm twitter arguments, no golf , no tennis. As a nation that has deep rooted sporting history and a passion for supporting a team, it is hard to believe that there are currently no teams to cheer on. What a few bleak months it has been.

Since coronavirus hit and consumed the world, it is easy to see why so many people are scared and confused about what to do. The truth is, nobody really knows what to do or how to really deal with this never before seen period. The joys of going to a football match with your friends may seem non-existent, but there are still some ways to enjoy sporting activities during lockdown.

Joe Wicks, otherwise known as “The Body Coach” is a well-known British fitness coach. He does short videos of high-intensity interval training and has also written healthy and quick recipe books, such as ‘Lean in 15’. Over lockdown, he has been uploading daily videos to his Youtube channel for different groups of people to follow, the most popular being his PE class for children bored in the house. He has gained an extra 1.2million Youtube subscribers and due to this is estimated to make millions of pounds, some of which he’s already donated to the NHS. I wanted to know what it was like for the rest of the coaches out there, who don’t have the platform he does and would struggle to teach their sport online. What does the future look like for them?

The Cylde Insider spoke to Allan Lusk, a Taekwondo instructor. He teaches ages from 3 and above at clubs in both Newton Mearns and Irvine. Allan started training at four years old, he immediately fell in love with the sport and now, age 35, he is a 5th Degree Black Belt and teaching full time.

During lockdown it has been still just as important to keep training, most coaches have had to learn a new style of teaching which is carrying out these sessions via Zoom.

He said: “At the outset of the pandemic I was very sceptical about trying to do anything online as I’m not the greatest when it comes to technology, and I always believed anything other than face to face is a waste of time, however, we have to adapt in times of uncertainty and this has been a difficult and challenging time. The more I thought about it and discussed it with my students I quickly realised that remote training could work and help to give students focus throughout the lockdown. The engagement of our members in our classes via Zoom has proved to be a great success and as the Instructor, I’m amazed at the content we can cover and the work we can get done”.

Allan has managed to make the most of a bad situation and whilst the online classes have proven to be a success he is understandably anxious about the future of his classes.

“The future is very much uncertain at present. We will of course follow both Government and our  Regulatory body guidelines as to how and when we can get back doing what we love and teaching face to face. Some concerns would be having to limit our class sizes at any one time to ensure social distancing is maintained”.

 Although I’ve never tried my hand at Taekwondo, I assumed that social distancing would be

difficult, as there is a large amount of partner work and close contact seems inevitable. 

Allan explained: “A big part of what we do is Sparring and Self-Defence, this brings contact. This area of what we do will probably have to be side-lined until such time contact is allowed. We are lucky in the sense that many aspects of our training don’t involve contact so this is what we will be focussing on initially”.

Of course, sports is more than just keeping fit, it produces endorphins and helps your general wellbeing. Numerous reports say that exercise reduces stress and anxiety. Like Joe Wicks says: “healthy body, healthy mind”. It’s very clear that Alan gets those same benefits from doing Taekwondo, it helps to keep him motivated and power through each day. 

“My favourite thing about Taekwondo is the sense of belonging and the feeling of always wanting to better myself in Taekwondo… that mindset feeds into everyday life. Helping develop a student regardless of age and ability and see them maximise their potential is the reason I love what I do”.

Throughout lockdown, many people’s mental health will have deteriorated, some will have found the long period of isolation unbearable and depression and anxiety may be on the rise. UK Coaching has teamed up with sports coaches and is offering them a free course on dealing with mental health problems up until the 31st of August. UK coaching are hopeful that this will allow coaches to help their community and clients adjust to the new world and get back to feeling like themselves.

“The benefits of Taekwondo to our kids are endless. Self-Confidence, Discipline, Fitness, Self-Defence, Self Control & Bully Awareness are just a few of the important characteristics kids take away from Taekwondo. Our syllabus not only teaches them how to defend themselves but just as important, vital life skills that will feed into their schooling”.

Sports is vital for people’s health and even though things will be different, coaches are putting in the effort to make it possible for us. 

If you fancy giving Taekwondo a go, we highly recommend visiting  www.allanlusktaekwondo.com for virtual and 1 to 1 sessions.

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