World Triathlon Coaching and Training Guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic period
1. Key messages
The current situation regarding Coronavirus will affect everyone in many ways. There is a wealth of advice that can be considered. Here is the perspective of World Triathlon regarding coaches and athletes:
- Follow the guidance from your own official government or region. Advice may be specific to the region where you are and so it is not necessarily the same the world over.
- Our first priority should be to our own and the greater community health. This must take precedence over training and competition. In any event, most if not all competition has been cancelled or postponed indefinitely.
- Ensure you follow guidance from reputable official sources such as:
- Local Government
- World Health Organisation’s (WHO) guidance on COVID-19: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/technical-guidance
- The International Olympic Committee's (IOC) COVID-19 updates: https://www.olympic.org/athlete365/coronavirus
- National Federations may provide information as well.
- Anxiety and stress levels are likely to be much higher for many people, consider the use of non-contact ways of communication such as Skype/Zoom/Telephone/Social Media to keep contact, maintain good humour and aim to reduce stress levels in individuals.
According to the experiences of countries, where the COVID-19 outbreak is already in an advanced stage, the most important protective measure has proved to be social distancing. Travelling is already restricted in many parts of the world, but still there are many people moving internationally. Due to the relatively long, variable length incubation period of the virus and the fact that during the incubation period individuals are free from symptoms (asymptomatic) but can still spread the disease the risk is present worldwide and is/can spread quickly, even in territories which have no confirmed cases yet.
For this reason World Triathlon Development suggests the following measures to all National Federations, athletes and coaches regarding all activities other than qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games:
- Take individual responsibility to stop spreading the virus and strictly follow local governmental guidelines.
- Suspend national competitions, as these usually involve hundreds of participants including: athletes, coaches, organisers, officials, visitors, contractors, etc. sometimes with extensive travelling of many.
- Suspend all travel.
- Cancel other gatherings, including training camps, group training sessions, courses and seminars, social meetings, etc.
- Make health and immune system maintenance the top priority instead of performance training.
- From group sessions and face-to-face coaching shift to individual home training.
- Stop physical exercises immediately if there is any concern regarding health and consult a doctor.
- Provide extended coaching support to athletes by adjusting their training plans, giving them guidance and offering advice being aware of the psychological stress of the uncertainty surrounding them.
The aim of this document is to provide basic information about COVID-19 and to give coaching and training guidelines during the pandemic.