We sat down (virtually) with Margot Page, Head Coach of Brock Women’s Hockey, and Willy Manigat, Head Coach of Brock Men’s Basketball, to chat about their webinar, “Planning and Building Through Challenging Circumstances,” that will be held on March 23 at 7 PM (EST) on Lifesize.
In our interview, we had a chance to speak with Page and Manigat about the challenges that coaches are facing during COVID-19 and what attendees will gain from attending their virtual event.
We also had the pleasure of hearing from two members of Brock University Men’s Basketball team, Kascius Small-Martin and Daniel Caldwell, who spoke about their experiences being athletes throughout the pandemic.
Margot Page and Willy Manigat
For those unaware but interested in attending the webinar, could you provide a brief description of the challenges that coaches have faced as they coach through COVID-19?
During the COVID-19 pandemic coaches have been faced with many challenges. Some examples include inability to access gyms and fields to conduct in person training, the number cap creating separation within the team and continuity, less contact points with the athletes, less contact point for the athletes with their teammates, and difficulty holding team members accountable to the team’s usual norms and expectations.
Why should people attend this webinar?
Coaches should attend this webinar in order to get a perspective of the difficulties other coaches share with them regardless of the level they are currently coaching. We hope to provide some of our solutions to some of the difficulties based on the age group or level they [attendees] are working with (i.e. club coaches, volunteer coaches, university coaches, etc.).
We also hope to provide some insight on how coaches can move forward through this pandemic as we work closer towards normalcy and a return to competition in what we hope is the near future.
What does coaching through these challenging circumstances look like in practice?
Due to health and safety protocols, during the pandemic our teams and programs have had to train while keeping social distancing rules. Our practices and training sessions consist mostly on the game fundamentals, our spacing concepts and a lot of skill development.
What is the webinar going to look like for the average participant?
The webinar will be laid out as follows: We will begin with a discussion on Coaching Struggles, then move on to Commonalities, Solutions for Practice and Culture Building, and then end with testimonials from coaches and players.
Can I contact the speakers after the event if time restrictions don’t allow all questions from participants to be answered?
Willy Manigat will be available to answer questions via email after the webinar if time restraints do not allow all questions to be answered.
Kascius Small-Martin and Daniel Caldwell
What are the most valuable transferable skills that you have learned through COVID-19?
Daniel Caldwell: Teamwork.
Kascius Small-Martin: Leadership, teamwork, communication, and discipline.
Have you felt any changes in your team culture as you train/practice/play throughout COVID-19?
Daniel Caldwell: The team is less of a unit as we would be in this time of year having an entire season behind us by now. Instead, the lockdowns have separated us and although we take opportunities to bond together individually through forms of virtual communication, it is not the same as spending every day for the last 8 months physically together in practices, games, travel, meetings, and workouts throughout the university. Being a team going through a culture change and trying to find its culture, it is difficult to build that [culture] during the lockdowns and separation. Although the culture has not been impacted negatively, it has not had the opportunity to grow as much as it would during a regular season.
Kascius Small-Martin: Somewhat of a change due to distance and only being able to see each other online for the most part.
Think about your training/practice style as it was before COVID-19, now think of what it’s like now. Do you miss any aspects of how things used to be? If so, can you explain?
Daniel Caldwell: Currently our practices are individual skill-development based due to social distancing and restrictions. Given basketball is a team sport, the most missed aspects of the old practices is being able to play 5-on-5 in the half-court or run up and down 5-on-5 full-court, whether that is situations and running through plays or just playing to get cardio in, the inability to simulate games is the missing aspect.
Kascius Small-Martin: I miss every aspect of the training and practice styles before COVID-19 because training and practice isn’t the same without being in the actual facilities (i.e. Bob Davis, BSPC, the zone) or being able to scrimmage and play contact.
What do you think coaches have done well as they coach through COVID-19?
Daniel Caldwell: I think our coaches have done extremely well given the circumstances. They know how difficult it is for the players and we know how badly they want us to get back to normal. But the focus is on individual development and a complete year off is the perfect time to focus on the individual needs of every player on their team. [Coaches have also been] ensuring their players that the issues going on in the world are bigger than the game of basketball as people are losing their lives and [have been] reminding us that the rules and restriction on practices are there for a reason. Our coaches have set an example by not bending the rules for us which leads for us not bending the rules outside of team/practice time and doing our part in preventing the spread of the virus.
Kascius Small-Martin: They have kept the training programs going virtually from the very start of COVID-19 and have kept everyone optimistic that we’ll be getting back to it, [we] just have to be patient, stay safe, and do our part.
What are some ways that coaches can improve their coaching style during COVID-19?
Daniel Caldwell: I feel like a lot of coaches at high-level basketball do not care to get to know their players on a deeper personal level from what is going on in the gym. Most coaches just care about the type of basketball player a person is and have no interest in the type of person the player is, which could result in understanding that player more and being able to get the most out of each player on their team.
Kascius Small-Martin: They can make the game enjoyable and fun again and let us play contact and compete.