Something other than COVID-19 takes over the top news this week, as protests and unrest swept across the country in the aftermath of the May 25th death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Sports have long played a unique and important role in combating racism and uniting our communities, as was evident in the number of athletes and coaches who spoke out this week. Play Like a Champion believes that youth and high school coaches play a powerful role in this regard by giving children the tools to treat each other with respect and love from a young age. We are proud to work with so many amazing coaches who are creating a better world for children and enhancing communities across the country. This week, we encourage coaches everywhere to join in kinship and to make a difference for all children through sports. Rememberthat together, we are stronger.
In COVID-19 news, Iowa became the first state to return to high school sports this week, as baseball and softball teams took to the fields at 12:01 am on Monday, June 1st. As the only remaining state where baseball and softball are considered summer sports rather than spring, schools found themselves in a unique situation when the governor announced that sports could resume as part of re-opening. The state's separate boys and girls athletic associations approved practice beginning on June 1 and games beginning June 15th, making these likely the only student-athletes who will play school sanctioned sports for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. While observing modified guidelines and social-distancing, most kids seemed excited to get back on the field, according to reports. It's clear that others states are watching Iowa and wondering what their own return might look like in the fall.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Soccer Federation released their return to play guidelines, offering a conservative approach that promotes individual or small group training and discourages traveling to compete. The phased approach takes cues from recommendations from the CDC and other organizations, but offers details specific to youth soccer teams. Friend of The Rally Dr. Joe Congeni also provides a good overview of things to be aware of as youth return to the field in his weekly radio interview.
As everyone in youth sports continues to wonder when it's safe to return to play, the growing number of guidelines like those of U.S. Soccer are helping organizations to assess risk and make decisions. In the midwest,health experts weighed in on youth sports,
calling them a "test pilot" for returning to play. This report provides a more broad overview of the landscape,
what to expect, and when it may be safe to return. In the nation's capital, a columnist profiles professionals and finds that athletes at all levels are missing their teammates. Our very own Clark Power helps readers to understand why.
Finally, when sports do return, those at the professional, college and high school level may do so without fans. We were interested in this look at how the new dynamic might affect athletes performance. Things will be certainly be different for everyone, but it's great to continue to see optimism about returning to play.
Each week we'll highlight some of the best articles and media for coaches, administrators and sports parents below, both those related to COVID-19 and some features that allow us to break away from the news for a moment.
Project Play Webinar Tackles "Life Skills" for Return to Play
Project Play has put on a number of valuable webinars over the past few months and we're intrigued by their latest offering. Next week's webinar will feature experts talking about the actions we can take "to ensure that life skills and mental health are central to kids' sports experience" going forward. Learn more and consider registering via the link below!
With everything going on in the world right now and no sports to turn to for a shared experience or distraction, it can be easy to forget just how or why we fell in love in the first place. USA Today asked columnists and readers to consider when they first fell in love with the game and share their stories. You may identify with what they found.
Annual Leadership Conference Features Exciting Speakers, Important Discussion
Now more than ever, it's critical that leaders in youth and high school sports engage in learning and conversation about what the future looks like for our children. Play Like a Champion invites leaders to join us for a Virtual Leadership Conference, June 22-25 to learn from a powerful group of speakers and participate in interactive discussion. Click the link below to learn more and register today.