Coaching young athletes through a lockdown

Coaching young athletes through a lockdown

Richard Caric of Team Caric is an expert in coaching young athletes across the cheer, dance and gymnastics world. He's given us some tips to help keep our little energy bundles at home motivated during the lockdown.


The current situation in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic is worrying for families and especially those with young athletes. Routines are disrupted which is never good for a child because routine means predictability and predictability means security. There’s also the social and fitness aspect side that takes a hit. Here’s my top tips on making sure life runs as smoothly as possible during lockdown.

Routine Routine Routine

The first thing I advise is set a routine. Set an alarm for getting up with maybe a little extra time in bed factored in. Then add meal times and a menu would also be good. The basic human needs of sleep and food are more important to younger people than we think plus meal times break up the day and also prevent snacking on high sugar content unhealthy bits and bobs. Also make sure they drink regularly to keep hydrated.

Enjoy mealtimes

Where possible have meals at the table or at least in the same room. Meal times is a good time to talk and young people need this at the moment. It will be hard for them to socially isolate because it’s like being grounded for doing nothing wrong. This in itself is distressing so they will need reassurance and answers.


Allow socialising via social media because it is very human to want to connect with our peers and receive feedback to give us a sense of self. Limit the time spent on social media to an hour because it can easily become counter-productive and affect sleep and vision as well as making real face to face communication difficult when this situation is over.

Get outside

For physical exercise I strongly recommend the garden to help ensure the kids get enough daylight and fresh air. Without daylight we can lower out vitamin D levels which in turn lowers our mood and calcium absorption for bone growth as well as weakening our immune system. Obviously if it’s raining it will have to be an indoor circuit but keep the curtains open especially in bedrooms.

Learn something new

This stimulates the brain and improves wellbeing. Research things about their sport and avoid watching the news. Sadly most news programs have a negative bias which appeals to adult brains but causes distress for the younger mind. If children want to know what’s happening direct them to official sites such as the World Health Organisation. Ask the child what they already know and provide the facts if they misunderstand. Sit together and research what the facts are.

Be mindful

Practice mindfulness by using the grounding technique. Sit by an open window and look around for five different things. Move back into the room and touch four different things. Go back to the window and listen for three different sounds. Sniff and smell two different smells then sip a drink and focus on the taste. All five senses are back in here and now.


Practice controlled breathing like square breathing by breathing in through the nose for 4 seconds, hold that breath for 4 seconds then exhale through the mouth for 4 seconds and again hold for 4 seconds and repeat. Also try resonant breathing by breathing in slowly for 10 seconds then out slowly for 10 seconds lowering the breathing rate to 3 breaths a minute. Put your hand on your pulse or heart and feel the heart rate come right down.


Keep a journal to log thoughts and feelings. It will be a good resource when the pandemic is over and will be a success reminder that no matter how hard things got, they made it through it.

If you’d like more information on Coach Caric visit