In Part I of the COVID-19 Contingency Series we covered several unique ways that coaches can be successful with what they and their athletes have access to today. While these tactics will be impactful, they are only short-term solutions to hold coaches over until they can be back with their clients and athletes.
There’s a lot of uncertainty about when schools will be back in session, and private facilities will be allowed to reopen. Many states have tentative dates on the calendar, but those of course are subject to change as the situation evolves. Many coaches right now are in a sense simply biding their time, providing basic bodyweight programming to hold athletes over as they hope for their facilities to reopen soon. However there is a chance that the COVID-19 pandemic could cause many facilities to remain closed throughout the remainder of the school year and into the Summer. I’d posit that if strength coaches knew today that they might not be with their athletes until the middle or end of Summer, they’d be aggressively shopping around for options to get equipment in the hands of their athletes.
The process of getting equipment into your athletes’ hands isn’t complicated, but it does take some effort to organize your stakeholders. At Gopher Performance we’ve already worked with several coaches who have taken these steps to get equipment quickly and affordably to those in need. Here is the roadmap they’ve followed that will help you do the same.
Step One: Identify the Equipment You Want to Get to Your Athletes
If you’re considering getting equipment to your athletes, Gopher Performance has a couple of convenient options that have worked effectively. The first option is to utilize a pre-existing pack like our Remote Training Packs. These packs incorporate enough equipment for you to provide a robust, uncompromising training program to any of your athletes who have the pack. The goal was to assemble products that would provide potent training stimuli, offer coaches versatility in programming, and come at a price that would be less than that gaming system that most young adults and teenagers are pining for these days.
Another, more customizable option is to work with a sales rep to create your own remote training packs. Whether because they have a specific price-point in mind, or because they need certain tools to implement their programming, coaches often want to mix and match their own packs. Here’s an example of an equipment pack we put together with Coach Ryan Davis at the University of Maryland for his football players.
Each player received tubing, a resistance loop, and a speed rope. This versatile pack allowed them to affordably equip 80 players with some of the tools they need to be successful and stay engaged while training remotely. When building equipment packs, here are a few things to consider:
- Who will be paying for the packs? If funding through a school or university budget then equipment packs can be as spartan or as expansive as budget allows. If the expectation is that parents will be purchasing packs for their athletes, it helps to have a few packs available at several price points so that as many people can affordably purchase equipment as possible.
- What are you trying to accomplish? Choose equipment that provides maximum versatility, but addresses your must-haves.
- What demographic are you working with? Select appropriate loads or resistances that cater to those using the equipment.
- What athletic or physical attributes are you most worried about decaying? Prioritize equipment that addresses those.
While the University of Maryland funded their equipment purchase you may need to rely on parents to purchase on behalf of your athletes, or clients to purchase on behalf of themselves. If that’s the case Gopher Performance can make it easy by simply quoting you the coach what a single pack would cost to purchase and ship, which you’ll then be able to communicate to your athletes, students, or clients. They’ll be able to reach out to your sales rep directly via email or phone and simply request to purchase the pack at the agreed upon pricing.
Step Two: Communicate Pack Availability to Your Stakeholders
This is where the path diverges a bit depending on what type of environment you work in. Regardless, you’ll need to lean heavily on proactive communication to equip as many people as possible in a short amount of time.
For high school & college strength coaches: Funding with your budget likely isn’t feasible, so communication with your athletes and parents will be the key to your success. Leverage your relationships with sport coaches and use social media to help spread the word regarding the pack availability. As mentioned, you can either direct your stakeholders to a pre-existing pack on our website, or provide the contact information for your sales rep to your stakeholders for easy purchasing at a predetermined price.
If you are looking to purchase equipment on behalf of your athletes, then working with your administration, sport coaches, and fundraising groups will be the key to purchasing equipment en masse. Your Gopher Performance sales rep can help you stay organized by providing quotes and fielding any questions regarding shipping to multiple addresses on a single order.
For coaches with private clientele: With your facilities under mandated closures, you may not be looking to purchase equipment on behalf of your clients. With that we can provide you with easy to share quotes that you can share with your products, as well as links to our offers online so that your clients can view the products you’ve selected for themselves. Similar to those at public institutions your clients will be able to purchase from us at a predetermined price you’ve worked out with your sales rep.
Step Three: Track Recipients Of Your Equipment Packs
Now that you’ve shared your packs, it’s time to start assessing which of your athletes and clients have received the packs. Again, try to leverage social media and email lists to diagnose who does and does not have the equipment packs you’ve built. Once you know that your athletes are receiving their packs you can begin to write programming for them. Be sure to follow up with those whom you haven’t heard from to make sure they received your messages reaching out about the packs. Folks these days understandably have a lot on their minds outside of their own, or their child’s training. Friendly reminders won’t hurt and will ensure everyone has equipment who is interested!
On Tap Next in the COVID-19 Contingency Series
The third and final part of our Contingency Series will look to pre-emptively address what life in our facilities may be like by the time we’re able to work with our athletes and clients again. We can all agree that when that finally does happen, life in our facilities will be far from normal. Chances are the threat of transmission will not be negligible, and coaches or trainers will have to take precautionary measures in their programming, facility layout, timing of training, and a host of other factors to ensure the safety of their stakeholders. We’ll aim to provide coaches and trainers with practical tactics and ideas to start thinking about now that will help them adapt to gym life in a post-quarantined world.
Alex Peterson CSCS, USAW, TSAC-F is the Brand Manager for Gopher Performance and a lifelong strength coach. With a decade’s experience helping athletes of all ages improve their physical preparedness Alex has a deep understanding of what coaches and trainers need to be successful. He enjoys leveraging his experience in the trenches to develop innovative products and provide useful content that meets the unique needs of strength coaches in all capacities. Some of his favorite products that he’s developed have been the VariBlocks Foam Pulling Blocks, ReadyArmor Weight Vests, Varisafe Indoor Weight Sleds, and the AlterForce Sandbags.