With the increased enthusiasm of wanting to get back on the field combined with the lack of proper conditioning and poor mechanics, it is urgent athletes create a development plan. What they do now will play a role in how succesful they are when the game returns.
Another week has gone by and life is not any different. This is truly unprecedented. There is a possibility no American sports will be played during the summer for the first time in 100 years. A true shame! I will not get into the politics of it, but I will try to steer the young minds of athletes to show them that life cannot be put on standby.
There is limited information about when life will return to “normal”, but preparing them as much as possible for the next chapter can be done. Hope for the best, but expect the worst. Having seen our lives flipped upside down at a moments notice is tough to swallow for anybody of any age. I suggest to all young athletes to have a plan during this worst-possible scenario we are in and move forward, despite all the limbo we are attempting to balance ourselves in. We have already gone with no March Madness, no MLB Opening Day, a virtual NFL draft, no College World Series, no NBA playoffs, etc. With the foreseeable future up for grabs, life has changed substantially and will remain that way for awhile. While we should take the advice of “experts” and do our parts to limit this virus, does not mean we have to stay idle.
One of the most important things you can do will be creating a list of possible outcomes and your plan of action for each. What if baseball resumes in June? July? August? This fall? You can strategically have planned a long toss throwing program and skill-based drills at home on your own to enhance your development. You can create and follow a development plan so when the time for practices and games arrive, you will be ahead of your peers who did not. We are all collectively in a poor situation, but with tribulation comes opportunity. I told players this past week, do not focus on obstacles, but see opportunities. This is the time when you can give yourself an inventory. Nobody is going to be playing games anytime soon. Everybody is similarly in the same situation. We are all standing on equal playing fields right now. Once the smoke clears, how will you show that you are ahead of the others?
It is important to look ahead and build plans for the future, but we mustn’t forget to stay in the current moment.
Carve out a small amount of time per day in a quiet place with no distractions. Visualize what you’d like life to look like. The next week, next month, six months from now, etc. As you do this, what obstacles may you encounter and what can prevent those roadblocks from jumping you off course? What are some of your current habits that may take you away from your long-term goals? This gives you the opportunity to find yourself the time to build new habits. Allocate your time to these skills.
There is so much uncertainty and even as an adult and a coach of multiple levels, it is very difficult. Not just in sports, but globally we see it all around us. It is easy to get lost into the uncertainty, the unknown, and the uncontrollable. One of the most difficult things has been the loss of sports, business closures, and a loss of purpose.
Before the shutdown, athletes had a team, an identity, but the situation has stripped them of that. Every athlete and their families are experiencing a massive void in their lives. To some it may be “just sports”, but it is so much more than “just sports”. It is a way of life, a livelihood.
Lastly, stay present, but be flexible. Prepare to multiple outcomes. This way you can have a plan when you have to pivot away last second. They say luck is when opportunity meets preparedness. They also say the harder you work, the luckier you get.