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Coping with COVID-19 for Youth Sports Organizations

COVID-19 has turned our world upside down. With youth sports seasons on hold and the youth sports community looking to each other for support and guidance in these uncertain times, Demosphere would like to share some gathered resources to help our partners navigate these uncharted waters.

For Your Organization:

Your organization may be scrambling right now, trying to decide how to move forward with a whole season’s worth of income in jeopardy. Now is the time to take a good look at The CARES Act to see how it may help your organization through these times.  

The CARES Act includes several provisions that may help your small business or non-profit get through the challenges of COVID-19 impacts:

  • Paycheck Protection Program providing a forgivable loan in the amount of 2 1/2 times monthly payroll costs – if your organization hasn’t yet applied for this, contact your bank ASAP!
  • Emergency Economic Injury Grant
  • Tax Benefits
  • Small Business Debt Relief
  • Counseling and Training

You can find more detailed information on The CARES Act here:

Now is a crucial time to keep coaches, players and parents informed of your plans and contingencies to deal with the impacts of COVID-19. As leaders of your youth sports community, you are called on to relieve uncertainty for your members wherever possible. Recommended practices include:

  • Proactive Communication – Don’t wait for your members to request or demand action from you. Having a well-communicated plan allows you to set workflow processes and function effectively.
    • Communicate proactively with members regarding season/event cancellations. Instead of automatic, bulk refunds, consider alternatives like future credits and/or non-profit donations. Check out additional resources and sample email language in our recent guide for managing cancellations.
    • Put measures in place to help your organization avoid chargebacks and remain in good standing through the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Transparent Policies – Remind your teams and families of current policies and notify them clearly of any pending policy changes. Letting your members know how you plan to move forward and what they can expect will help processes run smoothly. Some communication topics to cover include season/event cancellations, refund policies, and tryout contingency plans.
  • Collect Feedback – When members are engaged, they are more likely to be invested in your success. Ask them what they would like to see from your organization right now. An email survey or Facebook poll is a great way to collect ideas and understand your members’ perspectives.
  • Continuous Engagement – Keep players and coaches engaged! There are lots of creative off-the-field ideas to consider:
    • Set up a Facebook or Instagram challenge – Check out Arlington Soccer’s O5 DA team’s recent Facebook post here 
    • Post training videos – Tennessee Soccer Club has set up the TSC Virtual Training Center. It is full of activities for players and coaches.
    • Share workout ideas via social media – Indy Premier Coach @jcouto_ind is using Twitter and TikTok to send out daily drills
    • Host team Video Chats – ZOOM is a great free video chat service for group communication

For Your Family:

Every family has its own dynamic, some run “fast and loose” while others have a set routine. No matter how your family typically operates it is surely impacted by the ongoing effects of COVID-19. Take the time to consider what will work for your crew and create new routines while you are homebound together. Some recommendations from the Child Mind Institute include:

  • Keep Routines – Maintaining predictable sleep and daytime schedules can reduce anxiety for children
  • Encourage Exercise and Creative Play – Daily walks as a family and theme nights are fun ways to add variety to your daily routine
  • Stay in Touch with Friends and Family – Consider allowing kids to use tools like social media, Zoom, facetime and chat during this time. It may help them feel less isolated and stressed if they can connect with their teammates and peers

For Yourself:

There is a saying that goes “before you help others, you must first help yourself”. Those who depend upon you need you to be strong, calm and healthy in the days and weeks ahead. Remember that you don’t have to do it all. Do what you can. Give yourself the grace to rest when you need to, both mentally and physically. Some general tips for self-care during the COVID-19 crisis include:

  • Getting a good night’s sleep each night – this can do wonders for health and stress levels
  • Have a daily exercise routine – even a short walk around the block will allow your mind to reset
  • Maintain social connections with friends and family – use tools like social media, facetime, Zoom, and chat
  • Create a structured daily schedule to hep accomplish the most essential goals

You can find more tips in this article that sources information from a recent World Health Organization news conference.

Lastly, remember, you are not alone – we are all in this together and together we will get through this crisis. We look forward to continuing to support you and the youth sports community as we plan ahead to get back on the pitch! Until then, stay home, stay safe, and be well!

Kris Baker

Kris Baker is the President of Demosphere and has been serving the Youth Sports Community since 2006.