Sport’Aide listening to our young athletes

Faced with the current pandemic and the health scares it causes, in the last few days Sport’Aide has decided to enhance the guidance services it offers to the Quebec sports community. We therefore invite you to consult this web page where we propose information and awareness tools destined for athletes, their parents, their coaches, officials and volunteers. Read our press release.

Need help or want to talk about your situation? Contact us!

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Resumption of sport: a matter of balance

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In the last few weeks, how many times have we heard that “nothing will be the same again” that “habits or processes will have to be reviewed” or that “organizations are going to have to reinvent themselves”? in this chorus of questions, what about our young athletes who, used to the frantic rhythms dictated by their agendas, are waiting to get back to training? Are they all happy with this return to “normal”? One of our counsellors decided to speak to them. ————— About a month has passed since Minister Charest announced the resumption of sporting activities. Talk about a boost for the morale! We can finally see our teammates, our friends and our coaches again. We can finally be…

Inclusion in a time of COVID-19

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This blog series has brought us to the following problem. According to studies on the behavioural immune system (BHS), the presence of the coronavirus could lead to greater conformity among...

Exclusion in a time of COVID-19

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To summarize where we are in our reflection, the presence of pathogens activates the behavioural immune system (BIM) and leads to greater rigidity in social norms (hygiene, nourishment, sexuality) as...

Solidarity in a time of COVID-19

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In our most recent blog, we defended the fact that the presence of a disease like COVID-19 could lead to avoiding other people. On the contrary, we didn’t understand why...

Avoidance in a time of COVID-19

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I would like to start this series of four blogs with a personal anecdote. Those who know me well know that for me, there’s nothing better than a good old...

Cyber-isolation: addiction, luring and intimidation

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The isolation caused by the coronavirus pandemic has led to a change of routine for all Quebecers. No school, no sports, no restaurants, no movie theaters, no shopping, no going...

Canadian athletes and coaches in isolation: Who to consult in case of need?

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The current situation may lead to more athletes and coaches wanting to call on specialists in psychology, sport psychology, mental training, etc. without however knowing who to call upon.  No...

Physical exercise and immune system: too much is like not enough

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In this period of isolation, it is important, for both our physical and psychological health, to stay busy and active, and therefore continue to practice physical activities. It’s even more...

Isolated coaches: what role should you play with your athletes?

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In the sports community, coaches are among the people most affected by this pandemic and isolation, synonymous with an abrupt halt to training sessions and the competition season for a...

Parents of isolated athletes: When emotions and uncertainty increase tenfold! Exemplaire Exemplaire

COVID-19, Parents | No Comments
For the majority of parents, the COVID-19 imposed isolation generates a multitude of sudden changes on a professional, academic and personal level. These changes have probably disrupted the daily family...

Sportspersons and athletes confined: When emotions and uncertainty become overwhelming

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The match which currently pits the sports community against the COVID-19 pandemic is more than an unexpected clash, it’s a crisis that generates ignorance, unpredictability, uncertainty, ambiguity and a loss...

Little-known consequences of COVID-19 on athletes

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The period of crisis that the planet is currently going through in connection with COVID-19 obviously affects us all to different degrees. The sport community is no exception. Of course,...

Bigorexia: When sport becomes an addiction

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Have you ever heard of bigorexia? This term, which was initially used in the world of bodybuilding, could concern all physical and sports activities. More known in Europe, particularly in...

What happens when I call Sport’Aide?

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You have gathered your courage and you are finally going to dial 1-833-245-HELP (4357). You have been thinking about it for a long time. Maybe it was after you saw...

Take care of yourself and take the opportunity to explore

During this difficult period, it is important that you give yourself the means to prevent and reduce the anxiety that risks inhabiting you. How do you do that?

Here are a few tips that could be very helpful:

  • First, make sure you sleep and rest
  • Practice relaxation
  • Exercise regularly
  • Practice or explore meditation or visualization
  • Walk or enjoy nature
  • Give yourself recovery periods
  • Reduce your training regimen
  • Discover new passions or rediscover old ones

In short, by following these tips, you put all the chances on your side to improve your psychological well-being and, and another important element to consider, to strengthen your immune system against this virus.

Need professional help?

In addition to these tips, it is possible that you feel the need to confide in someone, express certain worries, find answers to certain questions or simply want to ventilate.

If you recognize yourself, you should know that there this nothing abnormal about having these feelings in this difficult and unique period. Also, you must not hesitate to ask for help. Talk to your loved ones, your family or someone you trust. You can also consider contacting your doctor, a mental health professional or a psychologist.

You’re worried and you need to talk about it? Contact us in order to validate the various potential solutions.

Did you know that…

Mario Lemieux, Serena Williams, Tiger Woods, Kim Clijsters and Quebec speedskater Marie-Ève Drolet have something in common?

For different reasons, these five athletes have all had to interrupt their respective careers for several months, even a few years in certain cases, and they all successfully returned to competing.

So, if this current period of inactivity worries you, don’t be afraid. Life will return to normal. Take advantage of this period to discover new passions or to do things that you don’t always take the time to do.

This inaction annoys you? You feel helpless?

Contact us!!!

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Most frequently asked questions

I feel lonely, is that normal?

First, rest assured that yes, it’s normal to feel lonely.
That said, you can contact your friends or teammates who are experiencing the same thing.
This is a difficult period for everyone, but the important thing is to talk and stay in contact.
With your loved ones or assistance services if you need to talk or confide in someone.

I find time long and I’m bored.
Do you have any advice?

It’s normal to find time long since you no longer have the same schedule.
You must first adjust to this new situation and establish a routine as well.
Continue to set your clock in the morning, plan periods for training, studying and meals.
By keeping busy and focusing on what you can do and control, you reduce your feeling of uncertainty.

I miss my friends and teammates…

I understand and they probably miss you too, since everyone is experiencing a bit of the same solitude.
That’s why I remind you that you can still see them physically rather than limit yourself to texting.
In these difficult times, the important thing is to stay in contact with your friends.
Fortunately, there are many ways on the web for you to get together and share good times.

It’s hard to get motivated and stay in shape with no competition to train for.
How do I do it?

I understand very well that the lack of a competition could affect your motivation.
This break may therefore be a good opportunity to focus on aspects that you usually have less time for.
For example, what would you say to taking advantage of this time to improve your mental skills such as confidence or visualization?
Finally, other sometimes neglected habits such as rest, recovery or relaxation deserve your attention.

I am afraid that I will have lost my skills and my shape when things start up again.
Is it normal for me to feel like this?

First, this concern is perfectly normal and many athletes like you feel this way.
That said, you must focus on yourself, your well-being and the efforts you have to make during this period.
If you succeed, you will come out of this in better mental and physical shape than others.
Take advantage of this period to get well-prepared.

How can I stay in shape despite this inactivity?

Despite the interruption of your activities, you can still invest in your training.
Right now, it may be easier to take advantage of this time to improve your flexibility, your strength and your mental strength.
By establishing a routine, you can maintain a level of physical activity which will help you maintain a positive mental attitude.
Even if you can’t go to the gym or your sports centre, there are other alternatives to help you remain active.

Confined at home, can you tell if there are ways for me to train at home?

First, if you run outside or practice an outdoor activity, make sure you respect the social distancing recommendations.
Otherwise, if you train at home, use what you have in the house. To help you prepare or plan training sessions, you can also search online for programs that propose various training options according to your needs.
It’s a good time to try a few, especially since certain platforms on the web are available for free.

I spend a lot of time on the social media to stay busy.
What else can I do?

First, let me tell you that it’s very good that you want to do other things and spend less time on social media.
Since you’re talking about social media, I would like to take this opportunity to tell you to be careful if you find your information on social media. Make sure that you consult reliable sources and maintain a balance which will allow you to fully understand the situation and the measures put into place.
That said, you could adopt a routine with predetermined times that would allow you to do different things and find an interest outside of sport.
Painting, drawing, craftwork, sewing, stamp collecting, music, cooking, etc. And don’t forget your studies.;)

I find it hard to be at home like this… with my parents and my family.  Is that normal?

It’s perfectly normal for you to feel that way… and the members of your family probably feel the same way.
This situation is unusual and destabilizes many people since it generates sudden and unexpected changes for everyone.
The result is that these changes have probably shaken up your family’s daily life.
It may be the time to take care of yourself with your family and take the time to talk and have fun together.

I need to talk and I don’t know who I can turn to. Do you have any suggestions?

First, I have to congratulate you for recognizing your need to talk.  Bravo, because in this case it’s important to seek support.
To do this, you can stay in virtual contact with your friends and loved ones to discuss your feelings between yourselves.
You can also ask for help and contact us at Sport’Aide. We are there to listen to you and to help you.
Finally, there are regional organizations (e.g. Excellence Sportive Québec Lévis, Excellence Sportive Île-de-Montréal, the Centre régional d’entraînement et d’événements de la Mauricie, etc.) which can recommend other assistance sources to you.

Can I train outdoors despite the recommendation to stay at home?

Yes, you can train outdoors but you must make sure you respect the general recommendations.
Therefore, you cannot train as part of a group and you must respect the physical social distancing rules and stay at least 2 metres away from another person. Also, remember that if you are coming back from a trip, you must respect the 14-day quarantine period where you cannot leave the house.
After the quarantine period, if you do not have any COVID-19 symptoms, you can walk, run or bike!

I will not experience my end of season championship and it really frustrates me. It makes me mad and I find it unfair.

It’s perfectly normal to feel this way, but I invite you to think about later on, when activities resume.
Yes, it’s unfortunate that you cannot finish the season, but you are not alone in this situation.
Think about those who may not even be able to start their upcoming summer season.
I understand you, but I recommend that you take advantage of this break to benefit from a longer period to prepare for the next season.

If you have a question for us, do not hesitate to contact us. We will answer it.

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How and what should I do to support my athletes right now?

Very good question. First of all, you have to take care of the athlete, but MOST OF ALL the person. That said, regardless of your athletes’ state of mind right now, the important thing is to understand them individually and consider each one’s needs in order to provide them with support and appropriate advice. Naturally, no coach’s behaviour is perfect and does not guarantee the well-being and performance of their athletes.

In order to provide my athletes with the proper support, which professionals can I consult to make sure that I do things right?

A very relevant question since people sometimes improvise in this field. The important thing to know is: Whether it be on a more clinical or educational level, the great majority of professionals who are able to assist athletes, coaches and Quebec and Canadian structures are professional members of the Canadian Sport Psychology Association. To find a consultant, contact us at Sport’Aide or contact your Centre Régional d’Entraînement Multisport to obtain a list of certified/affiliated people.

I find this period difficult and I fear that it will affect my role with my athletes. Is that normal?

It’s perfectly normal to feel that way because it’s a situation that currently makes many people feel insecure. That said, allow yourself to recognize and accept what you are feeling. Give yourself the space to recognize what you are currently feeling. Reflect on what affects you the most as a coach in the current situation, but also as a person. What are the consequences of these emotions? Do you feel nervous, apathetic, motivated, discouraged?

And if I need to talk or confide in someone?

Do not hesitate to verbalize how you feel about the situation. Contact other coaches and share your resources (e.g. physical preparation programs), your questions, your concerns and your frustration (physical preparers, physiotherapists and certified mental performance consultants), since they can provide important support for you as a coach as well.

In this period of inactivity, I fear that my athletes will get out of shape and I don’t want to impose on them too much.

Indeed, as a coach, the context could impel you to be more demanding in order to ensure that your athletes don’t lose their touch. However, you must not try to fill up your schedule and that of your athletes. Some have a very low level of motivation right now and having them train will not help them. Depending on your athletes’ goals (and not your own), identify if the important thing right now is to maintain a minimum level of physical activity or pursue goals.

I’ve been questioning many things since the isolation started. Let’s just say that we have a lot of time to think…

First, know that it is normal and VERY healthy to question yourself! Just like athletes are advised to reflect on their sporting experience and other sides of their personality, we encourage you to question your experience as a coach. Why did I want to become a coach? What knowledge do I use a basis to intervene? What behaviour do I adopt in line with these values? Do I have behaviours that are not in line with my values? Etc.

The weeks pass and I find it hard to keep contact with my athletes and I sometimes wonder if it’s important.

Absolutely, since you are a big part of their life. You are one of the rare people whom they trust and with whom they can express their feelings right now. As much as possible, create a space in which they will be free to share with you what they are experiencing. Listen to them and ask how you can help them. Do not hesitate to solicit the help of resources that you already rely on (doctors, physical preparers, mental performance consultants, etc.) to manage this situation together.

This environment is very confronting and sometimes I feel powerless and short of ideas with my athletes.

Normal to feel that way, since this situation is destabilizing for many of us. That said, continue to act according to your athletes’ needs by proving an overview of continuous training options, suggestions for training at home via credible online programs or applications; healthy recipes to try; and opportunities to get out and move (hiking, walking, running, cycling). You can also propose creative methods to stay engaged in their support, such as suggestions for reading or podcasts to listen to.

Through my role with them, I wonder if I can recommend activities other than practicing sports.

Good question and yes you should take advantage of this isolation situation to encourage them to find a fair balance between activities that will keep them active physically and mentally and other free activities to rest, read, cook, spend time with family, etc. Leave them the time and the opportunity to discover other aspects of their personality. They will be even more motivated to rededicate themselves to their sport.