Accountability For High School Athletes – Covid ConsiderationsHigh school athletics presents a unique challenge in holding athletes accountable in the off-season. Unlike higher levels like college or the pros, there is no written mandate or requirement that high school athletes MUST train or prepare.And while there may not be a formal mandate, many high school coaches look for creative ways to hold their athletes accountable. As Covid has forced many teams to train and workout remotely, accountability has a new layer of difficulty. At first, the immediate reaction might be to host Zoom workouts for the team. But getting everyone to log on at the same time can be tough due to computer and internet access. Another thought might be to have students submit videos of themselves working out at home, but collecting large hour-long files will inevitably eat away at your storage. Coach Ian Bonner has not let Covid deter his team’s summer training and accountability but instead has found creative ways to get the most out of his athletes and team. Clear ExpectationsWith information overload and enough on kids’ plates, Coach Bonner set out to make sure expectations were very clear. “We wanted to make sure our athletes knew it was we, and not you. We were all going to get through this summer training together.” And by clearly defining that it was going to be a group mission, Coach Bonner laid out the format for how workouts and training were going to look. Without access to a weight room, athletes are expected to get 4 Workouts & 1 Mobility Session done throughout the week at home. By using the PLT4M app, athletes would be able to tap into workouts remotely and get credit for completing their workouts. All of the coaches would have access to the app as well, to gain insights on who was and was not completing the weekly sessions. Relationships and Communication While the initial steps for holding athletes accountable were formed, Coach Bonner knew that holding kids to a high standard was not a passive endeavor. To keep a consistent stream of accountability, Coach Bonner made sure that he had a way to get in contact with each athlete. “I make sure that I have a way to contact each athlete individually. Whatever it takes, there needs to be a clear stream of communication. If I am seeing someone is not hitting their workouts, they can expect a message from me.” And Coach Bonner’s message is not one of frustration or chastisement, but rather support. “I will say to someone, ‘Hey I saw you only got two workouts done this week…what do we have to do change that in coming weeks?'”Check out how PLT4M can help you keep your athletes accountable!Request A DemoSocial Media Simple check-ins can do a lot, but athletes seeing themselves and their coaches working out can create a whole new level of buzz and excitement. With different social media accounts, Coach Bonner can highlight those training and working out at home. Athletes, Coaches, and even alumni all receive shout outs and praise throughout the week. In doing so, the initial message of ‘we are all in this together’ continues throughout the summer. “We wanted to incentivize what kids care about. Either they are taking part and excited about it, or maybe they aren’t and will start to ask themselves if they should get in on the action.” From showcasing athletes drawing agility ladders in chalk to loading up buckets and other household items to add weight, working out at home became cool. Competition and Reward While the social aspect of training is fun and exciting, the competition that is fostered via the PLT4M app is another layer of accountability that does not go unnoticed.Through daily finishers and other weekly challenges, athletes have a chance to see their hard work in reports and leaderboards via PLT4M. Individual reports can show and highlight the personal improvement that athletes have made. In addition, the different daily and weekly leaderboards stir some friendly competition among friends and teammates. If It Were Easy, Everyone Would Do It High school coaches know that holding kids accountable will always be a challenge. Right now, with Covid, people like Coach Bonner and others are just forced into having to be a bit more creative with how they go about engaging and encouraging their athletes. For Coach Bonner, it might be hitting a Zoom workout with his athletes, snapping a screenshot of a leaderboard and posting it on social media, or just calling an underclassman to check-in. No matter what you chose to do in the hopes of accountability, remember that if coaching high school athletes was easy, everyone would do it!