Meet Senior Fundlife Coach Patty, here she shares her thoughts as a mentor to Football For Life Academy and GirlsGotThis players and what playing and coaching football entails during a pandemic.
What does being a mentor to FFLA and GGT players mean to you in times of COVID?
Being a mentor to FFLA and GGT players during this pandemic means I can still make an impact and help them with issues that arise in their life, aside from still being able to share my love for football.
How different is the situation now than before, in terms of football?
In terms of football, the situation now is very different than before COVID. Before, we could play anytime and organise tournaments. Now it's challenging to practice, and worse, tournaments can't happen yet.
What does playing and coaching football during a pandemic entail?
We have to wear masks when we play football, and we also have to check temperatures before playing football. In terms of coaching, we have to limit the number of participants in sessions and strictly follow protocols.
What worries you most?
I'm worried about our safety; we have to be careful when we coach and make sure to boost our immunity.
How are you coping? What are your outlets/sources to cope with the pandemic?
I teach at a university, and online classes take more preparation than face-to-face classes, so I can't really allot as much time as I'd want to for Fundlife and coaching. I am also studying for my masters, so I have to manage my time wisely. I think I'm coping well enough as I am able to do my responsibilities. I can also maintain my relationships with those I hold dear. I do yoga, read, write poetry, journal, do artsy stuff, sing, garden, and most importantly, regularly call my friends and family, especially when I feel overwhelmed. Playing with our dogs also helps me stay in the moment and relieves my stress.
What do you think/see is the impact of COVID on the players?
Our players are affected by how routines have changed. Their studies are really affected - some even complain that they aren't learning effectively.
What is your advice to children/players who are at home and is facing a mental health concern?
Find a trusted adult to talk to - we coaches can be counsellors too. Also, do activities at home that make you happy, like art or whatnot. Also, maintain a positive outlook; things will get better.
If there is/are changes in football that you think would be beneficial when things get back to normal, what will it be?
Even when things get back to normal, I hope preliminary measures like temperature checks and sanitising still happens. While at games/tournaments, it would be good to see spectators still wearing face masks.