Keeping a Sports Team Active During Quarantine
Categories: Remote Ministry, Remote Youth Ministry Ideas
Inspiration from Edge Sports Coach, Sunny in Bulgaria
Sunny Petkov has been the Edge Sports national coordinator in Bulgaria for only six months. Before COVID-19 hit, Sunny was spending his time at weekly practices and traveling to various churches inquiring about the potential of starting up the Edge Sports ministry in new locations. Edge growth has gone on hold for the time being and his focus has switched to something else entirely...online workout videos.
“This shift was quite pro-active but also reactive as we had to be extremely creative in finding new ways of staying connected with the teams and coaches. We already have group texts in place and all the teams are very active on Facebook, so we told them, ‘Hey guys, don’t go out. Don’t do stupid things. listen to the government and we will all be back together soon. In the meantime let's stay in communication,’” Sunny explained.
Along with the other Edge coaches, Sunny wanted to make sure that despite the physical distance, there wasn’t actual social distancing as they could still connect online. From praying for and encouraging one another, staying updated on each other’s lives, and sending funny memes, these athletes have come together in a unique way.
Keeping Physically Fit
Athletes need to stay active, so Sunny began creating weekly workouts tailored towards keeping soccer players moving and physically fit. At the beginning of each week, he films a video from his home, then posts it on the team's Facebook messenger group chat. Starting with the basics, and then slowly progressing to higher intensity, these videos, all created in Bulgarian, have become an incredible resource for these Edge teams.
He explains, “In these videos, we started doing challenges as a twist to keep the boys active as all boys love a challenge. I’ve also been sending out ‘futbol’ videos so we can improve our mental game—as that will help them greatly when we are back on the field. We not only want to keep physically fit, but we desire to improve our game intelligence.”
Typically, during their once a week practices, they spend most of the time playing the game and doing soccer drills. Quarantine has provided a unique opportunity for them to focus primarily on keeping physically fit and building up endurance.
Toilet Paper Juggling?
Juggling a roll of toilet paper, soccer-style, using only your feet, has become a popular trend on social media. Edge Sports Bulgaria adopted this challenge and they use Instagram and Facebook to keep the challenge alive. Once you create your video, it's all about tagging up to ten friends in your story to see if they too will join in the juggling fun.
Giving athletes something to do keeps spirits high. “The toilet paper challenge got so viral. I’m still getting videos today!” Sunny exclaimed.
The next challenge Sunny would like to bring to the teams in Bulgaria is the plank challenge. Planking takes practice and discipline to do every day. The goal being, that once the teams are back together, the one who can hold the plank the longest gets a prize.
Weekly devotionals and Word of the day verses are currently under development for these sports teams. The group chat has been buzzing with encouraging words, verses, and conversations about God and the Bible. But, Sunny would like to take it to the next level by creating weekly devotional videos. It’s not just about being physically fit; it's also about being spiritually mature and learning how to walk with Jesus well.
“To the boys, this time has been like a dream holiday and not a time of quarantine. It’s not the end of the world. I think there is a very good attitude among the boys right now. In the past, we have been struggling to get them to have the right attitude. I think this situation is helping them learn respect. As weird as this all is, it creates a sense of community because we are all in this together. No one is exempt from the quarantine, and this is a shared experience for all.” Sunny reflects.
Are you surrounded by high energy young people? Get their bodies moving, their minds focused on the right things, and throw in a toilet paper challenge just for fun. Athletes might be off the field for now, but they can come back stronger in mind and body when the game is back on.
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