Three Ways College Teams Are Adapting to COVID-19

Learn how tech­nol­o­gy can keep your teams con­nect­ed and the major aspects of your pro­gram run­ning — no mat­ter your loca­tion. Here are three tips to help you adapt to and over­come today’s uncertainty. 

Three Ways College Teams Are Adapting to COVID-19

Learn how tech­nol­o­gy can keep your teams con­nect­ed and the major aspects of your pro­gram run­ning — no mat­ter your loca­tion. Here are three tips to help you adapt to and over­come today’s uncertainty. 

Athletic direc­tors and coach­es across the coun­try are lean­ing more heav­i­ly on remote coach­ing, e-learn­ing and cloud-based com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­niques to help their pro­grams adapt to the chal­lenges caused by COVID-19

Here are three ways col­lege pro­grams are using tech­nol­o­gy to boost their recruit­ing and coach­ing efforts to meet today’s social dis­tanc­ing chal­lenges and set them up for future success. 

Recruit from a Distance 

Coaches aren’t able to get on the road to vis­it recruits and ath­letes can’t con­duct on-cam­pus vis­its, but that doesn’t mean your recruit­ing efforts need to come to a com­plete stop. Recruiters are lever­ag­ing the ben­e­fits of video and get­ting cre­ative with how they engage with recruits as a way to main­tain rela­tion­ships and keep the eval­u­a­tion process mov­ing. Ask your recruits to film them­selves doing drills they would have oth­er­wise done in per­son or con­duct vir­tu­al vis­its to get them famil­iar with your ath­let­ic facil­i­ties, school grounds and more. 

Opportunistic ath­let­ic depart­ments also see the casu­al nature of video calls as a chance to show their human side” to recruits. 

People are more than just coach­es or ath­letes,” said Bret Billhardt, senior asso­ciate AD for ath­let­ics oper­a­tions at Wittenberg University. 

There’s a human side to every­body, and I hon­est­ly think this process has helped every­one real­ize that. It’s light­ened every­body up and helped us all real­ize that behind the cloak of a coach, admin­is­tra­tor, ath­let­ic train­er, or pro­fes­sor there’s also a human side. It helps recruits know if they can real­ly play for this per­son. It helps them under­stand if this is some­body they can be around for four years of their life.” 

Like any human being, they want to be seen. They want to be heard and acknowledged.” Mike Giuliano, head women’s soccer coach at Georgia Gwinnett College

Remote Coaching 

The COVID-19 sit­u­a­tion has not only dra­mat­i­cal­ly impact­ed the spring sports cal­en­dar but also how fall sports teams are prepar­ing for their sea­sons. With all coach­es unable to be with their ath­letes, play­er devel­op­ment, con­di­tion­ing and team bond­ing can take a sig­nif­i­cant hit dur­ing social dis­tanc­ing. That’s why coach­es are lean­ing on tech­nol­o­gy to keep their ath­letes con­nect­ed and engaged from a dis­tance. Coaches are shar­ing drills, con­duct­ing vir­tu­al work­outs, host­ing film review ses­sions via video con­fer­enc­ing tools and more. 

Like any human being, they want to be seen,” said Mike Giuliano, head women’s soc­cer coach at Georgia Gwinnett College. They want to be heard and acknowl­edged. So one of the things we do is twice each week we have a Player of the Day’ of the assigned. And on this par­tic­u­lar day, the Player of the Day gets on the Marco Polo app and does a video mes­sage that answers three ques­tions relat­ed to their favorite quote and joke and one thing they’ve always want­ed to do but haven’t done.” 

Anything we can do to recon­nect them with every­one is not only good for the play­er or indi­vid­ual but is also good for the team,” said Giuliano.

To learn more about how you can devel­op your team from a dis­tance, check out this Remote Coaching Guide full of best prac­tices, tips and tools.

Facility Planning

Even the best remote coach­ing, e-learn­ing and cloud-based com­mu­ni­ca­tion process­es will fail if you don’t have the prop­er facil­i­ties or equip­ment. Now is the time to reeval­u­ate your tech­nol­o­gy infra­struc­ture to ensure your pro­gram is set up for suc­cess not only dur­ing our cur­rent sit­u­a­tion but in the unlike­ly event COVID-19 restric­tions extend into the fall and win­ter sports sea­sons. Work with your tech­nol­o­gy providers to iden­ti­fy solu­tions and process­es that can help you over­come social dis­tanc­ing chal­lenges and get the most out of your cur­rent toolset.

For exam­ple, Hudl offers an abun­dance of remote coach­ing resources includ­ing a Remote Coaching Guide and Digital Coaching Center. We can also con­sult with you about new solu­tions such as imple­ment­ing smart cam­eras in your gyms to reduce the need for cam­era oper­a­tors and to offer live streams for your fans. 

Athletic depart­ments are also devel­op­ing con­tin­gency plans in the event their facil­i­ties need to be used for aca­d­e­m­ic purposes. 

What we are prepar­ing for as an admin and what we are prepar­ing our coach­es for is the real­iza­tion that at school of our size our ath­let­ic facil­i­ties are the biggest facil­i­ties on cam­pus,” said Billhardt. 

We’re antic­i­pat­ing our facil­i­ties are going to be uti­lized way more for aca­d­e­mics this upcom­ing year because of social dis­tanc­ing, but, if that means we can be on cam­pus and reen­gage in all activ­i­ties that are part of being a col­lege stu­dent, I don’t think it’s going to have that much of an impact on us as an ath­let­ic depart­ment. We’ll fig­ure it out because that’s kind of what we do.”

There’s a ton of uncer­tain­ty about the COVID-19 sit­u­a­tion, but what you can con­trol is how you respond to the chal­lenges that come your way. 

To learn more about how you can ensure you are set up for suc­cess now and in the future, vis­it our hub of remote coach­ing resources.