Summer is usually a time for play and fun. You find kids around the world participate in youth sports from baseball and soccer to volleyball and track and field with the sweat and cheers of competition reverberating from the stands of cheering parents.
But 2020 will look different for summer youth sports.
For many kids, there will be no youth sports unless you count Madden 2020 or AOS Tennis. As states have begun allowing group interactions, youth sports organizers grapple with when and how to return to play. Also, questions have risen on how to allow for team play with social distance guidance.
What’s safe with youth sports this summer?
How do we make participating in sports safe for kids in a COVID-19 world, whether that’s individual water bottles or keeping people 6 feet apart? The thought of keeping kids apart is good in theory, it is not super practical especially when you’re talking about young kids.
Lots of kids are inherently touchy feely. Trying to explain to them that they can’t share items or be close to other kids is like trying to stay cool outside in the sun.
Public health experts recommend a phased return to action, beginning with individual drills and practices before progressing to games and local tournaments. However, with each step, there is also an additional level of risk, according to guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Travel sports leagues and tournaments, the most competitive and most expensive branch of the youth sports world, are categorized by the CDC as “highest risk” because they could lead to the transmission of COVID-19 between communities.
When do your kids return to team sports?
For many parents, the return won’t happen this summer.
Travis Burt, a Little League coach and parent, had been thinking about it for himself and his team.
“Our Little League started back up last week,” he said. “I am head coach but myself and my son are not going back.”
Coaches and those responsible for the sport and kids safety have a lot to consider. Yes, they can sanitize the ball often. Some things can’t be helped in baseball such as the catcher always will be positioned behind the batter and players bumping into each other on some plays. Also, coaches are bound to get close to players to give instruction.
Organizations continue to monitor the situation.
Little League shared guidelines for coaches, athletes, volunteers, parents and spectators as organizations try to determine if they can have some form of a season this summer.
USA Track & Field stresses personal hygiene and social distancing as states begin to open up and allow for sports organizations to return to practice and event hosting.
Organized sports are not the only way to be active. Kids can still play in their neighborhood. Families also can play games and have field days.
Think kickball, tag, a scavenger hunt or if you have a basketball hoop, a little one-on-one.
So, find a way to incorporate fun and activity into your life with your kids.
When will your kids return to organized sports?