Social distancing due to Covid-19 has come with many adjustments that we as a community are having to make as we adapt to a new normal. One of the biggest adjustments for many of us has been the transition to schooling at home.
Student athletes are finding the adjustment difficult as they are no longer allowed to practice and workout with their team. So now what? We know parents already have a lot on their plate, so we thought we would give some of our best tips and resources on how to keep young athletes active during social distancing.
Even though baseball was cancelled this season, it doesn’t mean they can’t stay on top of their game! One great drill your child can do is the Wall Ball drill, and all it requires is a sturdy wall and some space! This is great practice for working on infield skills, as they’ll throw a baseball (or a tennis ball if you’re worried about damaging the wall) at a wall at different speeds, curves and distances as ground balls and they’ll have to field the ball. Ultimate Baseball Training has a video that shows all the different ways your athlete can practice this drill, along with many other drills they can do on their own!
USA Baseball has also just teamed up with Diamond Kinetics on a program called “Play at Home,” where they’ve offered 3 months of free access to their SwingTracker and PitchTracker programs that provide drills your child can do at home. With these and many other online resources, any baseball player can keep their skill level up and even improve their swing and their pitch!
While basketball is a team sport, there are still plenty of drills and activities for your athlete to practice individually. This is a great time for your child to focus on and improve their technical skills, such as dribbling, ball handling, and shooting and these can easily be done at home.
Have them focus on a skill that they aren’t as strong in and focus on activities that will help them improve. For example, if they want to improve their shot, have them do the Around the World drill, which is where they shoot from five different areas of the court, staying in the same spot until they make the shot and then repeat. This helps them get comfortable with shooting from anywhere on the court while giving them the time to focus on their form and power. Once they master that, up the difficulty-- add a timer to the drill for one minute and see if they can make all their shots and finish before it runs out!
You can find many more drills on the USA Basketball website, with different activities and drills broken down by skill level. So no matter if your athlete is in their first year or 10th year of playing, there is definitely something for them. One drill we recommend is the “Two-Hand Shoot From A Self-Pass,” which is perfect for any athlete eight years old or older. Also a game of HORSE is both fun and helpful and can be a great time for family bonding!
For soccer athletes of any age, this is a great time to improve overall ball handling skills! A great set of drills for them to do are the “One Player, One Ball” workouts. The name says it all; all your child will need is themselves and a soccer ball, which is perfect for social distancing! This drill combines conditioning and soccer fundamentals, and was made to help your athlete improve hand eye coordination, ball handling, and stamina. There are a wide variety of different drills included in the “One Player, One Ball” workout, for example, have them stand, throw the ball in the air, perform a push-up, get up and catch the ball before it hits the ground.
Another great series of workouts for your soccer player are the “Sideline-to-Sideline Dribbling Drills,” which focus more closely on footwork and dribbling. These drills slow down dribbling drills and have your child work on the fundamentals of their footwork with each move in order to perfect it. Once each skill is mastered, they can combine some of the moves together! Your athlete might come back to team practices with a few new skills!
We hope these tips are helpful in keeping your athlete active during this difficult time so when they do get to practice with their team again they’ll be ahead of the game.
Though these tips will help keep your athlete active, we also recommend reaching out to their coach to see if there are any specific workouts or drills they would like your child to be doing. Many coaches are keeping close communication with their teams and sending out custom workouts to do during social distancing, but combining their suggested drills with those above will give your athlete a competitive advantage (and hopefully keep them preoccupied)!
Stay healthy and safe!
-Your friends at CTPO