Return to Sport – Softball
Updated July 8th, 2021
- Athletes who are unable to follow verbal instructions regarding physical distancing or who require “physical manipulation / hand over hand” instruction to complete drills are recommended to continue with virtual training or general fitness training.
- Where in person training is not an option, consider virtual training or general fitness training sessions. Both are great alternatives and will allow coaches the opportunity to maintain contact with their athletes.
- Skill and Fitness sessions only. Scrimmages or games will not be played. All drills will be non-contact.
Before and After Practice:
- Athletes will wash hands before and after training session.
- Athletes should arrive at the facility dressed for practice.
- Coaches are to create and share training plans ahead of training session.
- It is recommended that coaches use pea less whistles.
- Stagger activity times between different groups to create a 15 minute buffer between sessions and avoid an overlap of participants in any one area.
- Do not loiter in the parking lot. Get in, Train, Get out.
- Physical Distancing (2m or 6ft).
- Personal / Equipment bags can be placed 2m / 6ft apart in a designated location on the field. Cones/pylons will be placed on the ground to mark where each athlete should store their items.
- Since there will be indirect contact with the sharing of equipment, mask use is mandatory for all athletes and coaches before and after practice, AND throughout the entire training session. Those who are unable or unwilling to wear a mask should participate in individual skill training drills only.
- Must not exceed the maximum gathering size as outlined by the Ontario Roadmap to Reopening Plan (https://covid-19.ontario.ca/public-health-measures )
- Maximum gathering size includes all athletes, coaches, volunteers, support persons and spectators/parents. It is the coach’s discretion whether spectators are permitted into the training session to ensure physical distancing can be maintained.
- Physical distancing of 2m or 6ft must be maintained by ALL participants at ALL TIMES.
- All “non-essential” contacts should be avoided (handshakes, high 5’s, etc.).
- All skill instructions must be verbal. There will be no “hand over hand” skill instruction.
- Structure activities to maximize physical distancing.
- If possible, assign athletes to small groups for training sessions.
- Design activities so athletes may stay within their existing small groups to reduce amount of contact with different people.
- Use cones and other equipment to ensure appropriate spacing is in place to support distancing. Reset cones that delineate the physical distancing parameters whenever they are moved out of place.
- Include frequent hand washing / hand sanitizing breaks into your training plan.
- If an athlete requires an assistant to train it is recommended that the assistant be someone from the same household. If the athlete unable to bring someone from their household, the assistant must be the same person each week. The assistant will wear PPE while working with the athlete, all assistants will go through the same daily screening check.
- Bring your own water bottles clearly labelled with your name – do not use public water fountains.
- Athletes may use only their own personal training equipment, or program equipment that has been sanitized.
- When using shared program equipment, the following steps should be taken:
- Balls should only be used for 1 drill before being sanitized.
- Bats should be sanitized between each user, and the number of users per bat should be limited.
- Designate one coach/volunteer to disinfect program equipment before, during and at the end of each training session.
- Only one catcher may use the catcher equipment in a practice. Catcher equipment cannot be shared within a training session.
- All program equipment that is worn (helmets, gloves, etc) will be used by one person per training session.
- All program equipment that is worn (helmets, gloves, etc) will be disinfected with Sport Equipment Disinfectant Solution and allow a 72 hour dry drying time between uses.
- Coaches should not share handheld equipment such as clipboards, white board markers, etc. Recommend coaches each have their own personal whiteboard kit to use as a visual aid for coaching.
- Only coaches/staff should handle team equipment (cones, pylons, etc).
- Avoid using shared pinnies or any other equipment. Have players bring two different coloured shirts (dark and light).
- Any individual equipment used should be taken home and washed separately from others in the household (e.g. uniform).
- There should be no direct contact between players during skill training sessions.
- There shall be no base running while defenders are in-infield positions.
- If practicing base running, alternative “bases” can be set up at the edge of the outfield to serve as defensive staging zones if required.
- In-field hits should be considered dead balls to avoid accidental contact between offensive and defensive players
- Drills involving all players in their assigned defensive positions can take place
- Batting practice with all defensive players in position.
- Ground ball drills with defensive execution.
- No scrimmaging is permitted.
- Be creative with the structure of your practice times. Use a combination of general fitness training and skill training sessions.
- Train the same hours but this will be a mix of skill training and fitness training, either in person or virtually.
- Make it clear that there is no penalty for missing practice and that if an athlete, or any member of their family does not feel well, they should stay at home.
- Tournaments and Competition will follow Return to Competition protocols.
Each sport venue may have their own COVID-19 restrictions. Please follow the instructions of the staff.