ONLINE CLINICS HELP COACHES STAY ON TOP OF THEIR GAME DURING COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS
Every athletic program in the country has been hit by the COVID-19 restrictions/guidelines put in place. Student-athletes all over are being asked by their coaches to stay at home, stay healthy, stay engaged and stay active. But how are coaches staying on top of their game?
Many New Mexico football coaches are participating in some coaching instruction through various websites.
“As coaches, we have a lot of resources online,” said Piedra Vista High School head softball coach and football offensive coordinator Kevin Werth. “Usually, you have to pay for a lot of these, but many services are starting to offer them for free. It’s incredible how much is out there.”
“As coaches we are always asking our kids to improve, so we need to do the same,” said Roswell High School football coach Jeff Lynn.
Lynn recently went online and discovered the website, AllAccessCoaching.com, to pick up some coaching tips. “I’ve got some time and thought it might be a good time to listen to some other coaches,” said Lynn.
Online clinics give coaches an opportunity to learn from their colleagues and mentors about various plays, formations and techniques they might be able to implement in the fall. “I listened to a guy back in December talk about some special teams stuff,” explained Lynn. “I’m going to implement one of his schemes this upcoming season.”
“If you want to learn, there’s so much available online,” said Werth. “A lot of people are helping out during this unusual time via the internet. I appreciate it. This I my 24th year as a coach and I’m always looking for something to help us improve. We will take more advantage of these clinics in the future.”
Though the clinics are online, Lynn says it’s just like being there in-person. “It’s just like going to a clinic,” he explained. “You can ask a question, he shows you his plays and sometimes you get an opportunity to hear someone speak you would normally never get a chance to hear. Sometimes you go to a clinic in person and there might be only one speaker who’s relevant to what you do. This way there’s multiple speakers from all over the country and now you don’t have to spend a lot of money to travel.”
While online coaching clinics are useful during this time of social distancing, not everyone thinks internet-based instruction will completely replace the hands-on material coaches can learn at an in-person event. “There’s something about networking and camaraderie that you can’t get online,” said Werth.
“For football coaches, one thing that’s really valuable is getting away with your staff and going over things at an in-person clinic,” said Centennial High School football coach Aaron Ocampo. “In New Mexico, a lot of our staffs are not on campus. Some people have other jobs or in college. Those (in-person) clinics give us a chance to meet together as a staff.”
Ocampo, like many other coaches, is using this time at home to try and improve his program for the fall. “Fortunately, this time is allowing me to do a lot more of the self-scout stuff like the breakdowns for next year. I would have done a lot of it in the summer, but now I can work it at home. I’m breaking down the teams we play this upcoming year with scouting reports. Whenever we get to get back working with our kids, we have to pack a lot in over a short period of time.”
Technology is helping coaches improve during the offseason and it also helps them stay in touch with their student-athletes. Many coaches send, via text and social media, strength and conditioning workouts they can do at home.
“We’re posting a workout every day, stuff they don’t need a weight room for,” explained Lynn. “I have all the kids in a group text and something unique we are trying is to screen shot their exercise routine and post to the comments (on social media) to keep each other accountable.”
“I miss them,” Werth said of students. “I can’t believe I’m saying that,” he joked.
“We have a lot more ways to communicate with them now than we ever had,” said Ocampo.
“The situation away from school and our teams gives us time to spend together as a family, but everyone would like to get back to normal,” Ocampo added.