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Athletes and the Coronavirus - How to Cope and Compete during difficult times

The Coronavirus has impacted life in a way most of us have never experienced before. Schools are closed, businesses are closed in attempt to "flatten the curve" and slow the spread of the virus.

The mood and morale of many are down.  If you have middle school or high school aged children you know kids are out of sync.  If you have college age children the challenge is real.  One moment you are independent, living with your friends and now you are back home doing classes on line. 

Athletes and seniors in high school and college are feeling a great sense of loss.  

Many working adults are experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety around their ability to pay their bills, earning and income. etc. 

These are challenging times.  But we are not at war.  We do not have a food shortage.  I am confident we will help our neighbors through difficult times. 

It's important that we acknowledge how we are feeling and that we are purposeful to make healthy coping choices. 

Coping:  So how do we make the best of these times?

How do we make the best of social distancing and a shut down of what we know and love? 

During these difficult times, we want to focus on the what we can control and make sure we are nurturing our mind, body, spirit.

Focus on What we can control: 

L - Leadership during these challenging times. How will you lead?  What will you role model? 

E - Effort.  How can you put forth your best effort during these times?

A - Attitude.  Everyone is going through this together.  It is hard.  How can you have a winner's attitude during this time?  

D- Discipline to stay positive, to take care of your mind, body and spirit during this time. 


Have a vision for what the end of this social distancing period could look like:

  • I worked out everyday.  I was purpose to continue to develop my skills. 
  • I tackled some long over due projects
  • I ate dinner (and breakfast, lunch lol) with my family everyday and was present. 
  • I read a few books on my sport, on coaching, on mental skills training. (Check out how to borrow e-books from your library or try a subscription to kindle unlimited.)
  • Craving and missing sports?  Watch all 30 of the ESPN 30 series.  (We watched the 1983 NC State Run to the National Championship last night - it was great!)

ESPN 30 for 30

Set realistic expectations

Generally the #1 thing that gets in the way of an athlete's performance is unrealistic expectations. The #1 reason why marriages fail is due to unmet expectations. 

I am attached 1 of my 16 mental skills workbooks on Strategies for Unrealistic Expectations.  The key is to let them go and to focus on the process.  The workbook is for sports but you can apply it to everyday life. 

What process will you focus on to stay calm and connected during corona virus social distancing phase of our life?

Download now


Be purposeful to move your body and eat as well as you can.  (I personally got in a big workout and then blew it on the nutrition.  Today is another day.) 

Peloton just announced they are offering 90 days free on their app.  I LOVE the app.  I do not have a Peloton. (I bought a trainer for $149.00 on Amazon and bought my road bike into the basement.)

I love the app because its like working out with a great friend who is a super LIFE coach. 

So many categories and workouts to chose from:  Running, Outdoor, Strength, Cycling, Yoga, Meditation, Stretching, Bootcamp, Walking, Cardio.

LINK to the Peloton Page

Another great app Down Dog has offered free on line courses until April 1. 

They offer: Yoga, HIT, Barr, 7 Minute Workouts. 

LINK to Down Dog page 


Figure out strategies to stay calm and connected. 

If mediation is not for you (It's hard for me) I love this 5 minute mediation by a friend of mine Molly Williams who runs a yoga and mediation studio up in Maine. 

Link to 5 minute mediation. 

Staying connected has never been more important. Challenge your teammates to keep working out.  Share your workout plans. Have a dance party.  Play games on line. 

Zoom offers a free version of their video conferencing that allows you to hold video conferences for up to 100 participants for up to 40 minutes before they charge. 

Loom and Google hangouts are also good group video conferences. 

Last - try to laugh and express gratitude

I traveled a lot from 2009 to 2017.  Typically I traveled 3 out of 4 weeks a month and miss lots of family dinners. 

So last night when we were getting ready to eat and the energy of my kids was not a 10 - I just started laughing.   I used to really hate missing family meals.   Now I have the HONOR of enjoying every single meal with my family indefinitely. 

Seek to express gratitude for the blessing you do have in your life. 

Eventually this will pass. 

Stay well. 

Ann Z

Ann Zaprazny, Certified Mental Game Coach

Great Sports Minds LLC

[email protected] 

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