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Step 1 & 2 Restrictions & Best Practices for Training

Posted: February 12

The Government of Alberta announced additional options in Step 1 of The Path Forward.   Guidance for Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation, Path Forward - Step 1 can be found HERE

The changes allow to have more athletes back on the court for volleyball training in limited group activities.  Below is an overview of what the restrictions mean to volleyball and some concepts to consider for operating within the guidelines.  It is important to note that Volleyball Alberta has a Masking Policy, that requires masks for all VA participants, at all times, while they are indoors, including but not limited to arrival, training, game play, and departure.

Masking Policy

Volleyball Alberta consulted several groups that utilized athlete masking last fall during their volleyball training.  Feedback from these groups was that athletes required a period of time to adjust to mask wearing when they started training, and this ranged from 3-8 sessions before becoming acclimatized.  Once the athletes adapted to wearing masks, they did not have any difficulty breathing or with shortness of breath.  Mask selection is also very important, there are several different designs and people typically find one that is a better fit.  Selecting the right mask can make a notable difference with overall comfort, feel and effectiveness.

Recommendations & Guidelines

  • Athletes can start with light activity at home with a mask prior to participating in volleyball specific training
  • Volleyball specific activity should start with low impact one on one drills before progressing to group training
  • Group training must slowly and progressively introduce physical loads and begin with low intensity training to provide athletes time to adapt to mask wearing
  • Athletes MUST BE CAREFULLY OBSERVED and monitored for fatigue or shortness of breath to ensure their safety and wellness
  • Particular attention should be paid to anyone with asthma or other health concerns
  • Athletes must immediately stop activity if they are feeling unwell, shortness of breath, dizziness, or fatigue
  • Athletes can remove themselves from a drill to a safe distance in the gym away from their group (minimum 3 metres), hand sanitize, and take off their mask should they feel that need to recover
  • Masks should be changed if they become damp, dry masks are most effective

Restrictions Specific to Volleyball Participation

  • All participants must be 18 years old or younger, except coaches or trainers
  • A maximum of 10 total individuals, including all coaches, trainers, and athletes per assigned group
  • A volleyball court can only be occupied by one youth group
  • Adjacent volleyball courts can be utilized by other youth groups, ONLY if 3 metres of physical distancing can be maintained between these courts and the participants
  • Each coach/athlete can ONLY participate with their assigned group during their session and cannot interact with other courts or groups
  • Physical distancing of 3 metres MUST ALWAYS be maintained between participants in each group for indoor activities
  • Games are not allowed
  • Coaches or trainers may enter physical distancing space for BRIEF interactions with participants (for example, to correct form or technique)
  • Coaches/trainers must either be NCCP Trained in volleyball, registered as a Volleyball Alberta club coach, or directly paid by a client
  • Coaches/trainers are expected to provide active instruction and correction, passive supervision is not considered to be training and would not be appropriate
  • Volleyballs and common touch points should be sanitized at an increased frequency, and in between separate groups
  • Spectators are not permitted but a parent is allowed to be in a facility to ensure the Rule of Two and their child is safe, this number must be kept to the lowest amount possible and at a distance greater than 3 meters from the participants
  • Car-pooling to volleyball activities is strongly discouraged
  • There can be no team meetings or social events before or after practices
  • Participants must be always masked as per Volleyball Alberta’s Masking Policy
  • Access to change rooms must be limited, including accelerated arrival and departure, emergencies (for example, first aid) and washroom use.

On Court Considerations to Maintain 3 Metres of Physical Distance

  • Teams should email processes, expectations, general information, and session drills in advance to avoid on site team meetings
  • Coaches should carefully consider use of white boards, this may be difficult to maintain distance for group instruction during Step 1
  • Use visual guides (eg. cones) where possible as markers for athletes to understand distancing requirements
  • Smaller numbers on the court at a time reduces the chances of breaching distancing requirements, a MAXIMUM of 4 athletes per side should be permitted to maintain 3 metres of distance throughout the session
  • Reminder that ball carts should be approached by one person at a time, they tend to be congregation points
  • No blocking against a front row attack
  • No middle attacks, as most approaches from this position would cause a distance breach with the setter
  • Setter should move to position 3 to set right side hitters
  • Setter should not set back row attacks in the middle or right side of the court
  • The volleyball court is 9 metres wide, setting up drills should have no more than 2 people across from each other as it is extremely difficult to maintain distance when athletes are in motion (eg. passing or defensive drills)
  • Limit transitional movement in a drill, additional actions within drill patterns make it more challenging to maintain distance
  • Smaller groups of 2-3 athletes makes it easier to facilitate drills with distancing
  • Be aware of movement patterns on both sides of the court, to avoid athletes meeting at the net (eg. dynamic stretching lines)