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06 Jan 2021 25,282

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: We’re here for the coach

As coaches continue to pay close scrutiny to the phased return to play, we are here to support you every step of the way by setting out what the easing of restrictions means for you in your role, and outlining the implications for the sport & physical activity sector as a whole.

Here is the latest information for coaches on the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation from across the UK – updated 17 May 2021.

The Government's roadmap out of lockdown restrictions for England is now at Step 3, which came into force on 17 May.

As part of this stage, indoor group sports and group exercise classes can restart, along with outdoor adult contact sport.

NGBs/sports providers for contact sports have developed action plans in line with the government’s Contact Combat Sport Framework, which takes into account the level of risk of their sport. For example: Stage E1 of the rugby roadmap allows full contact training from May 17. Stage E2 on May 31 permits full contact matches to be staged.

Here is a summary of Sport England’s updated advice:

Indoor: Organised indoor adult and children sport and physical activity can return (including exercises classes) subject to sport-specific guidance. For organised indoor sport and physical activity, there’s no limit on group numbers so long as people adhere to capacity restrictions on indoor facilities.

Outdoor: Up to 30 people can meet outdoors. Organised outdoor sport and physical activity can take place in any numbers, subject to sport-specific guidance.

Organised sport and activity includes:

  • Organised group activities (such as, but not limited to, exercise classes, group cycle rides, walking groups etc.)
  • Organised team sports, including adapted versions for ‘higher risk’ team sports (following approved guidance)
  • Other organised sports (such as, but not limited to, tennis, badminton, golf, horse riding, water sports etc.)
  • Organised sport participation events (such as, but not limited to, road races, running and cycling events, triathlons etc.)
  • Organised contact combat sports (following approved guidance)

Changing rooms: Changing rooms can open, but participants should be encouraged to avoid or minimise use where possible.

Car sharing is permitted for sport and physical activity.

A note about indoor sports facilities:

Below are the key points from CIMSPA’s Step 3 guidance around organised group training and exercise classes that can take place at a gym, leisure facility or community centre.

  • An organised activity must be formally organised by a qualified instructor, club, national governing body, company or charity and follow sport-specific guidance where appropriate. 2m social distancing is required for exercise classes.
  • These organised activities can take place with any number of participants, as long as they are undertaken in line with Covid-secure guidance and adhere to the capacity and social distancing restrictions for indoor sport facilities.
  • If the activity is not organised, the limit on group sizes is six people or two households, with social distancing.
  • Regarding personal training sessions inside a private home: gatherings of up to six people or two households can take place. Social distancing and hygiene measures should still be maintained.

Further information on how to participate in grassroots sport and physical activity during COVID restrictions is available on the Government website. See also the Government’s National Lockdown: Stay at Home guidance for what you can and cannot do.

We will update and refresh this guidance as new information becomes available. 

UK Coaching urges all coaches to continue following health and safety measures to protect themselves and their families against the virus. These can be found via the WHO (World Health Organisation) website.

We are proud of how much our coaching community has done to support society by offering a supportive network for people all over the UK during the pandemic. We love seeing and sharing the work of all coaches, so please continue to post and tag us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin. We encourage you to continue your journey of self-improvement and up-skilling by accessing our learning and development resources.

And we will continue to support you by offering further guidance, resources and lobbying for more support for you from a range of funding sources.

Information on Home Nations

The Scottish Government's stay at home regulations came into effect on 5 January 2021. Visit the Scottish Government's website for full details.

The Scottish Government has also set out a timetable for its route out of lockdown.

With regards to sport and exercise:

  • You are permitted to meet others outdoors for informal exercise or sport, provided you follow the rules on meeting other households outdoors, which are:
    • From the 16 April: Up to 6 people from up to 6 households, plus children under 12, can socialise outdoors.
    • Young people aged 12 to 17 can:
      • meet outdoors in groups of up to 4 people from 4 different households
      • take part in outdoor non-contact sports and other organised activities in groups of up to 15 people (this number includes up to 2 adult coaches or instructors) - and travel across local council boundaries to take part in these activities
      • outdoor contact sports are not permitted, except for professional sport.
  • Under 12s: Organised outdoor contact sport, non-contact sport, exercise, personal training, coaching and group activities are permitted.
  • Adults: Organised outdoor non-contact sports, exercise, personal training and coaching are permitted in groups of up to 15 people (including coaches and instructors), providing appropriate guidance is followed.
    • Outdoor contact sports are not permitted, except for professional sport. 
  • Outdoor gyms can remain open. 
  • Indoor sports facilities required to remain closed, expect for professional sport use. 
  • Leisure centres, gyms and indoor swimming pools will be allowed to reopen from 26 April.

From 17 May most of mainland Scotland (and islands not at Level 1) will move to Level 2. Under Level 2, gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools can reopen.

For further information see the latest sport and physical activity guidance from sportscotland and sportscotland's guidance for coaches, leaders, personal trainers and instructors.

Wales moved to alert level 2 on 17 May.

The rules on sport, exercise and outdoor activity that came into force in Wales on 3 May saw gyms, leisure centres, swimming pools, community centres and fitness facilities able to re-open. This included individual or one-to-one training. 

Swimming lessons, exercise classes for up to 15 adults and children's indoor activities also resumed from the same date, but only if they were organised and in a regulated setting.

From 17 May, this has increased to 30 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.

The full measures and restrictions can be found on the Welsh Government's website and Sport Wales' website.

The Northern Ireland Governmnent has issued new guidance on its COVID-19 restrictions. 

Up to 10 people (including children of all ages) from a maximum of two households can participate in outdoor sport and exercise.

Up to 15 people (including coaches) can participate in outdoor sports training through clubs or individuals affiliated with recognised governing bodies or representative organisations for sport and physical activity.

All indoor spaces, such as clubhouses and sport facilities including changing rooms, showers, kitchens, and meeting rooms must stay closed, apart from essential toilet facilities.

Other essential information

  • Indoor sport is not permitted, other than at elite level.
  • Elite training and competition can continue, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Elite sporting events must be held behind closed doors without spectators.
  • Physical education delivered by or for schools, pre-schools and other education providers is permitted to continue.

For the full guidance head to NIDirect.GOV.UK.

General information for all coaches

We suggest that coaches who continue to coach follow the guidance laid out above, and stick to the key points below:

  • The coach and their participants remain two metres (six feet) away from each other (and others in the vicinity) at all times.
    • You are at higher risk of being directly exposed to respiratory droplets released by someone talking or coughing when you are within two metres of someone and have face-to-face contact with them. You can lower the risk of infection if you stay side-to-side rather than facing people. 
  • There is no physical contact between the coach and their participants, eg handshakes, ‘high-fives’, etc.
  • Good hand hygiene is observed, ie hands are washed before and after the coaching activity; and hand sanitiser gel is used at intervals during the coaching activity.
  • The coach should ensure that participants avoid sharing the same equipment. Additionally, kit and equipment should be changed, washed and sanitised regularly.
  • Coaches and participants should avoid touching their faces.
  • Coaches, who have participants under the age of 18 or who are deemed to be a vulnerable adult, should seek consent from a parent/guardian or other responsible adult, as well as arrange appropriate drop-off and pick-up strategies, and ensure their participants have clearly defined equipment and kit to avoid contamination with others. 
  • Coaches whose participants have been shielding should read the latest updated guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19.

If a coach or their participants show symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), eg a new continuous cough; a high temperature; loss of taste and or smell, they and their household should isolate at home and cancel any scheduled coaching activity.

The NHS provides further information on what to do if you or anyone you have been in contact with is showing symptoms.

Coaches across the country should be in regular contact with their respective governing body of sport or respective Home Country Sports Councils for updates on guidance and restrictions.

Sport England, Sport Northern Ireland, sportscotland, Sport Wales.

Head to our Return to Coaching Roadmap for lots of expert guidance on navigating the phased return to face-to-face coaching safely.

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Return to Coaching: Roadmap

Expert advice to help you safely navigate the phased return of face-to-face coaching

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