Our goal is to assist you in navigating the
real challenges related to the
COVID-19 pandemic.

HOW TO RE-ENGAGE YOUR COMMUNITY

One of the ways we can offer our support is to provide resources to help you make decisions related to when and how to step back into sports ministry safely.

The information found here should not be received as medical, legal, or expert advice that is mandated or expected by Upward Sports. We encourage League Directors to closely observe the recommendations of their church leadership and their local, state, and federal public health and educational agencies for guidance on the best course of action to take in their communities.

Last updated: 9/13/2021

Considerations for a Modified League

Setup & Registration

  • Select Online Player Registration with the option that includes credit card payment in the Program Info stage of League Setup of MyUpward. This will reduce paperwork and handling cash or checks at your evaluations.

  • By selecting Online Player Registration, parents will sign the participant waiver online during the registration process.

  • All uniform sizing is now done online to remove the sharing of sizing uniforms by all players. 

  • Add extra time to your Game Minutes to allow for transitions between games and your cleaning crew to sanitize if needed.

  • You can now select the timeframe for when you would like your awards order to process. This is selected in League Setup in the Key Dates section of MyUpward. This will give you greater flexibility on when to distribute awards and to determine what award is best for your league (ex: each player could receive a sport ball that they can bring to each practice).

  • To help reassure parents, communicate the cleaning and sanitizing measures your church has implemented and plan to take.

  • Communicate a clear refund policy so that if parents decide not to have players participate, they know what to expect. Include this information where you enter a custom message during the Online Registration setup stage of League Setup in MyUpward.

  • Access key advertising resources prior to creating your league here. Further program specific advertising resources such as social media images, postcards, e-flyers, etc. will be available in myupward.org after league creation.

Evaluations

Instead of holding in-person evaluations, implement a creative way to gather player information from parents:

    • In MyUpward under Setup > Program Information, add questions in the Additional Participant Information section to gather evaluation information.
    • Examples of evaluation questions:
      • Dribbling skill (1–beginner, 2–average, 3-above average)
      • Overall skill level (1–beginner, 2–average, 3-above average)
      • Height in inches
 
*Note: At this time teams are not drafted by the User Defined Fields (UDF) but this information may help you manually place players on teams. You may also enter numbers collected from the UDF and place them into the traditional evaluation score fields and auto draft.
If you are hosting in person evaluations, modify based on state and local guidelines for capacity:

  • In MyUpward under Setup > Program Information, add questions in the Additional Participant Information section to gather evaluation information.

  • Have everyone register online as it includes the digital version of the parent waiver.

  • Hold evaluations by appointment only by using sign up services (SignUpGenius, Boomerang, etc.)

  • Provide the sizing chart for parents to review at the check-in station. *Note- Previous sizing apparel should no longer be used as the sizes have changed.

  • Have parents note their player’s evaluation scores at each station. Afterward verbally give final scores to a volunteer collecting evaluation information.

  • Have each station marked with tape or labeled to remind parents and players of social distancing and to keep everyone moving in the same direction.

  • Have the player use the same ball throughout evaluations and disinfect afterwards or allow players to bring their own ball from home.

  • Cheerleaders will provide their sizing information when they register online and may not need to attend an evaluation.

  • Email the PDF welcome flyer to the parents after the evaluation.

coach / referee training

  • Host training virtually.

  • Record your training and send it out to volunteers to watch at their convenience.
    • Utilize the Coach and Referee Training Powerpoints available on MyUpward.

  • If in person, limit the number of attendees by offering multiple training sessions and times.

  • Outline health protocol measures and make sure your coaches / referees know the standards.

  • Equip volunteers to be able to communicate to parents and to know what to do if sickness is reported.

  • Communicate a clear COVID plan to all coaches so they know how to report a sickness back to the League Director in a timely manner.

Practices

Refer to state and local guidelines for parent attendance and capacity.

  • Have volunteers designated as your “COVID Cleanliness Crew” that are up to date on State guidelines and help to apply methods for cleaning, sanitation, and social distancing during practices.

  • Access Coach Resources in MyUpward to view practice plans and devotions.

  • Limit the number of indoor teams that are practicing together.

  • Keep players that are not participating in scrimmage play at social distance requirements.

  • Use floor tape to visually remind players of the proper social distance requirements.

  • During star distribution and practice devotions, please remember social distancing guidelines.

  • Share the Gospel Video link to player’s families through email or text.

  • Recommend that each player only bring water bottles that are labeled with their name.

  • Have hand sanitizer stations available and encourage use before and after practice.

  • Consider modifying access to high traffic areas (water fountains, restrooms, etc..)

  • Refer to your state guidelines on having your facility up to cleaning standards, to ensure the trust of your parents.
    • Establish a frequent cleaning schedule for high touch areas including sports equipment

game day

Refer to state and local guidelines for parent attendance and capacity.

    • It’s okay to skip a game and not make it up.

 

    • Have volunteers designated as your “COVID Cleanliness Crew” that are up to date on State guidelines and help to apply methods for cleaning, sanitation, and social distancing during games.

 

    • Make guidelines clear to families by posting them at Game Day or sending them out ahead of time.

 

    • Encourage parents to only arrive to the gym/field when it is time for their player’s game and to socialize away from the fields or outside of the facility.

 

    • Designate entrances and exits for families to use to control traffic flow.

 

    • Have hand sanitizer stations available and encourage use before and after games.

 

    • Recommend that each player only bring water bottles that are labeled with their name.

 

    • Consider not offering concessions or post game day snacks.

 

    • Find creative ways to promote sportsmanship in place of handshakes, huddles, or human tunnels.

 

    • Encourage social distance requirements while on the sidelines and player bench. Use floor tape to visually remind players and parents of the proper social distance requirements.

 

    • Coaches can login to MyUpward.org to access substitution system and star distribution tracking.

 

    • Encourage parents to wash player equipment and apparel after each game.

 

    • Encourage participants to keep players personal items separate from other teammates.

 

    • Have post game recognition on the court/field instead of a small huddle.

 

  • Have the game made up later in the season and host it on a practice night

  • Have the players on the team that is left scrimmage each other

  • Build in a bye week in your season that allows for makeup games

season celebration

If your season celebration needs to look different this year, get creative in how you celebrate!

  • Host a virtual Facebook live event with entertainment and giveaways.

  • Drive in Movie

  • Create a slideshow or highlight reel of images/videos that capture the season.

  • Consider having each team celebrate their season individually if there are large gathering restrictions in place.

  • Share the Gospel Video link to player’s families through email or text.

sport format adjustment

Limit team size to reduce the number of players on the bench.

  • Instead of having players throw in, instruct them to kick in from the sidelines limiting the amount of hand contact on the ball.

  • Ask that goalies use gloves.

  • Consider smaller sided games (see 4v4 option).

  • If you are looking to reduce the number of volunteers, consider having coaches or parents referee games.

  • Make sure each player puts their name on their water bottle in the space provided.
Limit team size to reduce the number of players on the bench.

  • If you are looking to reduce the number of volunteers, consider having coaches or parents referee games.
Limit team size to reduce the number of players on the bench.

  • Use shoulder straps instead of wristbands. These can be ordered in MyUpward by going to Ordering > Merchandise.

  • If needed, setup your league for smaller sided games of 3v3. Select this option in MyUpward under the League Setup > Divisions tab and 3v3 from the dropdown menu in the “Game Format.” Play 3v3 on a smaller court or half-court.

  • If you are looking to reduce the number of volunteers, consider having coaches or parents referee games.

Considerations for a modified Camp

Soccer or basketball camp

  1. Select Online Player Registration with the option that includes credit card payment in the Program Info stage of League Setup of MyUpward. This will reduce paperwork and handling cash or checks. By selecting Online Player Registration, parents will sign the participant waiver online during the registration process.

  2. In your advertising materials, help reassure parents by communicating the cleaning and sanitizing measures your church has implemented and plan to take prior to each camp session.

  3. Communicate a clear refund policy so that if parents decide not to have players participate, they know what to expect.

  4. Be flexible in your camp structure by offering a shorter time commitment. Also, be flexible where you host your camp (Gym, park, outside field, church parking lot, etc.)

  5. Have smaller camp sessions, or multiple sessions to help limit the number of players and volunteers that are present.

  6. Have players label their water bottles clearly with their names or, you can remove the water bottle and have this as their camp celebration take home.

  7. Have players label their sport ball with their name and use the same ball each camp session. Also, have players leave their sport ball after each camp day so your Covid Cleanliness Crew can sanitize properly.

    • Your “COVID Cleanliness Crew” should be up to date on State guidelines and help to apply methods for cleaning, sanitizing, and social distancing measures.

  8. During devotions, star distribution, and Gospel presentation, have players sit apart from each other to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

  9. Focus on skills and drills and remove the scrimmage opportunity to maintain a smaller group.

Additional Resources and Webinars

“Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on health considerations and tools for operation during COVID-19” – Click Here

“Considerations from the CDC for ways in which youth sports organizations can protect players, families and communities during COVID-19” – Click Here

“Risk management information on how to re-open and return to play.”

Click Here

“ Coronavirus and youth sports – Play Risk Assessment Tool, FAQ’s, and more ”

Click Here

“Return to play considerations guide  – Guidelines, Liability, Waivers, Healthy Operations, Letter Templates, and more”  – Click Here

 Click Here to view a modified basketball and cheer league example from a church in Ashland, OH.  

In speaking with league directors, surveying parents and coaches, and engaging with other organizations, we have uncovered some ideas that may be helpful as you consider what to do next related to spectator and participant capacity limits in youth sport

Click Here

Hear from experts in the fields of disease control, hygiene, communications and mental health about safely and thoughtfully gathering again. Recordings and other written resources are available to help you in working through the many decisions

Click here for more information

Join the League Director Facebook Group to see and hear what other leaders are thinking, asking and doing during this time.


Understanding your unique circumstances and helping you overcome the challenges is what we love to do. We’re here to help you create the transformational experiences you’re looking for in your community. Let’s connect.


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