My heart goes out to everyone affected by the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus saga. Everyone in the running community we are serving is feeling the impact of COVID-19.
The current crisis has changed all the rules by which we engage in and play sports. With events and a competitive season that have been rescheduled because of the coronavirus, and some training facilities closed, we are scrambling to develop contingency plans while trying to navigate implementing essential COVID-19 Return-to-play ASA protocols.
Some members have decided to pause or stop their club membership due to the pandemic while at the same time the AGW Office also got enquiries from prospective new members that wants to join, who see their health and fitness to be unnegotiable, and those that want to start a new club.
I’ve talked to many athletes in recent weeks. I know they are frustrated, disappointed and devastated with everything going on right now, but the health of our members, coaches, technical officials and supporters are more important than anything else right now.
I remember my late Dad say, “God gives His hardest battles to His strongest soldiers.” This is just a minor setback for what will be a major comeback.
This virus is definitely a battle for everyone, but it is just one of many challenges we will face in life.
I believe we have all learned valuable lessons from this situation.
It will teach us not to take things for granted.
It will show us how to love and respect others and look out for our family, friends and communities.
It will make us better members of society.
Will We Be Prepared To Return-To-Play?
Whether the answer is an emphatic yes, or a maybe, it will depend on how we face the psychological aspects.
When facing a challenge, do you feel like you can rise up and accomplish your goal or do you give up in defeat? Are you like the famous train engine from the classic children’s book (“I think I can, I think I can!), or do you doubt your own abilities to rise up and OVERCOME the difficulties that life throws your way?
Believing In Yourself Matters
Your talent and emotions are unique and it shouldn’t be an embarrassment or a disappointment.
In the midst of this current global crisis, it is normal to feel like you are on an emotional rollercoaster; the constant influx of information (with dozens of conflicting reports and the rumour mill in overdrive about the implications for the 2021 sporting calendar), changes to daily routines (as the amended lockdown regulations changes), uncertainty with personal health and the health of others coupled with rapidly changing reports, is characteristic of the ups and downs of a rollercoaster. All of which is physically and emotionally draining.
Feel your feelings. Realize that it is okay to feel pain, let yourself be sad, angry or any other emotion.
You can feel those emotions but you can’t live with them forever, and you can’t let them run your life. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support, you’ll find people who are willing to be there.
Asking for help can be hard, and accepting it even harder.
Let people in.
Talk about it.
Identify people you can trust who you feel can be sources of support and guidance during this time.
Stay in touch with your club, coach and team-mates via text, video, and social media.
Connect with a mental health and/or mental performance professional for additional support in working through your current experience and concerns.
We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic brought different degrees of impact in our running community.
Some athletes and their families may not feel much of an impact while others may not have a safe place to stay, access to food or other essentials, or a stable financial situation during this time of crisis, and everything in between.
Some athletes will find it challenging to train alone due to their motivation being strongly tied to feelings of community with their team-mates/club members.
Don’t be ashamed of what you’ve been through or what you’re dealing with. You’ve made it this far in life, and that in itself is an accomplishment.
It’s natural to struggle when times are uncertain, so remember to offer care and compassion to yourself, and to those around you.
Wishing you well,
ASA NATIONAL COACH, LEVEL 3
ASA EXCELLENCE ADVISOR