Motivational Hacks Post Covid-19 For Parents of Athletes

Motivation is the driving force that inspires high performance athletes to go above and beyond the recreational aspect of sport to reach higher levels. Naturally, there are ups and downs for everyone, sometimes even the most dedicated athlete gets in a training or performance slump. This current world shutdown has done quite a bit more damage than that however.

Yesterday I had a chance to have a chat with a Bantam AAA parent. We talked a great deal about the complete loss of structure and ‘purpose’ for their child regarding hockey.

Dedicated athletes are a unique sort; they will wake, train, sleep, repeat day after day without so much as a whisper of complaint. The athlete has a goal he or she wants to reach and that is the end of it. They willingly sacrifice their childhood years to go after the infinitesimal chance of athletic greatness.

Then in comes Covid-19, the isolator of worlds.

Suddenly this ultra focused athlete has nowhere to go for direction, for training, for practice or for competition. Local, national, and global events were cancelled; and dreams were unceremoniously put on hold. For the high-performance athlete, this was chaos & their worst nightmare.

“You are told nothing will happen, then everything inside you just gets destroyed.”

Russian Olympic gymnast Angelina Melnikova reflecting on being told the Olympics were postponed due to Covid-19 (1)

Athletes tend to be very structured and regimental in their lifestyle. Strict and Spartan in outside pursuits; in my opinion this is extremely important to understand that they thrive in the very conditions that most would consider extreme. Even the sport parents follow their lifestyle & sacrifices somewhat.

“Sorry Bill, can’t meet for the BBQ….. Tina has a boxing clinic that weekend.”

What has happened though with Covid-19 is a complete upheaval of the training structure and routines that has led to many athletes simply not doing anything.

Of course it is important to remember that motivation starts and ends with a personal choice. However, not having many options has caused many young athletes to wake up feeling uninspired, isolated and has led to many just sitting around the house being lazy.

Ultimately, the choice is that of the athlete, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. As things pick up again, you as the parent or guardian can help rekindle and kickstart the training mindset of your young athlete. Here are several useful tips to help you motivate & encourage your child starting today.

Tip #1 – Set Clear Goals

Lack of motivation can happen when we are not focused on clearly laid out personal goals. With the shutdown these desires and goals are no longer in the forefront of every waking thought.

Sit your athlete down and ask him or her to write down what their personal sporting goals were as of last season. Then ask then clearly if they still want this and are they willing to go back to the grind?

When you set clear and specific goals, especially on paper, it helps to focus on what matters most and provides motivation needed to continue.

Tip #2 – Re-establish The “Why”

If your athlete is now struggling to find motivation to return to training, it may be because he/she has forgotten their "why".

They have been removed from what makes them come alive. You need to help them think about that again. You will want to ask the following type of questions:

· What is it that makes you come alive inside when you think of *insert your sport here*?

· Where do you want to go with it?

· Do you think others have stopped training?

· How would you measure your current athletic condition?

Roadblocks happen, help your athlete get back to their “why.”

Tip #3 – Prioritize Your Health

Success in sports can be determined by how you take care of yourself. If the athlete is not in peak physical condition how in the world can one expect to compete at an elevated level?

If self-care is not a top priority, everything else suffers, which can cause your athlete to be more distracted and less motivated.

Set and adhere to a renewed schedule/routine. Remember when I said this was important? Get back to a morning ritual and make a habit of waking up and engaging in activities that will increase their motivation. Start with a walk or run, a stretching routine, some technical training and then a healthy breakfast.

Turn off the wifi for a bit and ‘force’ the distractions aside. Make their physical health a priority.

With a helpful boost you can remind your young athlete what motivated him or her to begin with & help them fire the passion levels back up to get back what was put on the back burner for months.

(1) All Around (e10). Olympic Channel, uploaded June. 2020,

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