Let’s just admit something. We all miss power soccer. We miss getting on the court and competing with our teammates. However, that is not a cause for despair. Instead, we just have to be a little bit more creative about how we connect with our squads in this time. We may be on a little bit of a power soccer vacation right now, but the coronavirus is not going to defeat the power soccer community. Let me share a few strategies to keep in touch and maybe even become a better team through this time of social distancing.
First, there is a really exciting way for you to relive some of the best power soccer in the world. Starting this Saturday, April 18 at 3pm EST, watch parties are going to be hosted on the United States Power Soccer Association Facebook page. You can get online and watch games with people from around the country. Ask questions, learn from your fellow athletes, and enjoy a sense of community.
While we are on the topic of community, don’t forget to keep in touch with your fellow athletes. Get on the USPSA Discord channel. If you’re unfamiliar with Discord, it’s a free platform that allows you to congregate and socialize via text or voice chat. Most often it’s used for gamers so we have channels set up for anyone looking for people to play with, but we also have power soccer channels and a voice chat set up for the upcoming Facebook watch parties. If this sounds up your alley, be sure join the USPSA Discord community.
Text your teammates. Get on Skype or FaceTime. I can’t say enough about how great it is to get an email or Facebook message from one of my teammates. We might have to be socially distanced from each other, but we certainly do not have to be alone.
On that topic, who says that you need a team to get in your chair and keep your skills sharp? Even if you just hit the ball around in your driveway or practice maneuvering your chair around cones, garbage cans, or whatever you have, it is important for your skill development and maintenance. I don’t know about you, but speaking for myself, it can be a challenge to readjust to the power of my Strikeforce when I haven’t been in it for a while. It is just the reality of living with reduced muscle strength, and I know that many of you can probably relate to that. Take advantage of what you can do alone and without teammates. For some inspiration, you can check out The Power Soccer Channel. Just because you are not with your teammates does not mean you cannot keep yourself in game shape.
Finally, if you want to get together with your teammates for some great soccer strategy sessions, why not get on Zoom and share your screen with the team? You can watch videos together, talk to each other, think about what you could have done better, and plan for domination once you are all able to get back on the court again. Zoom even has a whiteboard function that will allow you draw annotations. (Also, a good way to play Pictionary with friends!)
When I asked head coach Mike Vigneault of the Northeast Passage Wildcats why his team has been using videoconferencing to review game film, he told me,
“Our team is really enjoying the weekly video calls. We’re having our 3rd session this Saturday. We spend some time catching up on how everyone is staying busy, share stories and then we watch a game. I breakdown situations, and we discuss the good and bad. Of course, everyone would rather be on the court, but I think these sessions are really helping everyone get through this pandemic.” Watching yourself play can be eye-opening, but it can help you find your weaknesses and improve your game in the future.
I know that a lot of you are missing power soccer. I am as well. However, that does not mean that we cannot use this time as a way to come closer as an association, as teammates, as competitors, and as friends. There are opportunities available, and I really hope that you will at least take advantage of some of them. We are all in this together, and we will all be together on the court again.