All Junior & Senior AFL clubs have been working with AFL Queensland through submissions to the State Government, on nutting out some of the challenges faced when returning to footy. The latest update released on Thursday, June the 4th 2020, now allows for clubs to prepare for a 'Return to training"
Training will see new challenges and changes to the way Coaches, players & parents work within the guidelines implemented in the 'return to training protocols stage 2'
At Southport Sharks, the Management Committee, Coaches, Team Managers, first aid & Sports trainers will all be completing the Australian Government Department of Health "Infection Control Training - Covid19" course. All members of the Management Committee will also act as Covid19 Safety Officers as a requirement for a return to training.
Given the challenges of having multiple age groups with multiple teams, the training schedule will see some changes to accommodate the Groups of 20, and the change over times between teams entering or leaving the playing surface. So let's have a look at a typical training session and how that will work in the Stage 2 framework.
If your team is set to train from 4.30pm to 5.30, parents will need to arrive and drop off players minutes before training starts. Parents will not be able to enter the field of play as they will add to the total number in each group. Parents will be required to stay behind the fence of the oval and maintain a safe distance of 1.5m from any other person. The player will need to register with their Coaches or Team Manager, have a splash of sanitiser before entering the field. (Coaches will have sanitiser available at all training and games) In the case of a team with 22 players and 2 Coaches the total number is 24. This group must divide in to two groups. No one group can amount to more than 20 players. If 2 teams in an age group have 44 plus players, they will need to break into 3 groups.
Each group of players will be allocated to a zone on the ground. For two groups the ground may be divided into two halves, with a line of cones across the centre of the ground marking the line between the 2 zones. In the case of three groups of 20, the ground will be divided into three zones as per the example shown. Each group can have up to 20 players including Coaches. As an example:
Group 1 U11's = 10 players & two Coach
Group 2 U11's = 11 Players & one Coach
Group 3 U12's = 19 players & one Coach
The challenge is for single age group teams that have 22 players and 2 Coaches. They are not permitted to train as one group, therefore they will need 2 sections of the ground. Players in group 1 can not swap with players in group 2 or vice versa. The groups are to stay the same over the training period to suffice State Government Covid19 safety guidelines. If a ball gets kicked over into another zone, players are not allowed to move into another zone to retrieve it. A Player or Coach from the zone the ball is now in, will need to kick the ball back in to that zone.
Age groups like our U12 & U14's boys have 3 teams each in the club. They will need to spread across 4 zones of fields as there are more than the 60 maximum per field.
So one group will be on one oval while 3 other groups will now be on a different oval. 4 groups can not be on the same oval.
Coaches will have the challenge of managing these groups to keep them consistent to meet the protocols.
When training is set to finish at 5.30pm in this example, Coaches will need to finish up their training a minute or two before 5.30pm to allow players to move off the ground, collect the balls, cone markers and and water bottles, then send the players home.
Players and parents must not socialise or hang around, they must exit the venue so the next group scheduled to train can arrive.
Coaches will then sanitise the Footballs with sanitiser (alcohol based) and also leave the venue. Coaches will also sanitise footballs before training. No other equipment can be used during stage 2.
There will be a 15 minute changeover between each training session to allow players and parents to leave and the next group to arrive.
Water Bottles will also need to be the responsibility of each player. Clubs are no longer allowed to supply water bottles, so please make sure the players have their own water bottles at every training session. At this point, this rule will carry over in to a 'Return to play' in stage 3 as well.
Players must turn up to training prepared to train. No club change rooms will be available for use. They will be closed with only the toilets available for use.
Players who require strapping will need to do this before attending training. We will share videos on strapping techniques from trainers & physicians to help you in this area.
Spitting will not be allowed at anytime during training or around the venue.
Given some of the challenges listed to 'Return to training' we ask that all players and parents support the protocols for a safe environment and to respect the 'Covid Safety officers' who will be moving around the grounds enforcing the restrictions in place.
A NEW training schedule will be updated over the next 24 hours to accommodate the challenges faced with the restrictions associated with a return to training. The Club will update the season start dates and length of season and finishing dates shortly.
Our expectation is to return to training from Monday the 8th of June. This will be confirmed in the next 24 hours.