NATIONAL athletes need mental and emotional support during the covid19 pandemic, according to Kervin Jean, head of open campus Academy of Sport at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine.
Jean was speaking on Saturday during a transformational leadership webinar hosted by the TT Olympic Committee (TTOC). The webinar focused on covid19 – an opportunity to grow, an opportunity to innovate, an opportunity for transformation.
Jean encouraged National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) to reach out to their athletes. "How many of us have engaged our athletes at this point?"
Jean said athletes need support during this time where a number of them would be busy on the track, in the pool or on the field. "How are you holding up mentally, emotionally?"
He said covid19 is a chance for athletes to explore other avenues.
"It's normally said that during times of calamity one of the best things to do from an academic standpoint is to go back to school, with some of our athletes facing this downtime. How much of us have actually engaged them in terms of career planning?"
Jean said all-round development of athletes is important and international standards should be followed. "Are we looking at the development of our athletes holistically. If we talking about holistic sport development, we need to go and support our athletes and give them the resources that they need. A lot of us tend to focus on what is happening now and let's get it done. I think we need to step outside ourselves, step outside of the box and look at what is happening internationally and frame our operations from that standpoint."
Jean said covid19 has forced NSOs to re-evaluate their operations in terms of strategic planning, relationship with stakeholders and planning for the future. He said sporting organisations may have the best intentions of development, but if they don't have a solid foundation in place. there will not be success.
"This is where we are at now, we are forced and thanks to covid19, somewhat, we are forced now to go back to the drawing board, reinforce our foundations. Look at those little things that we take for granted, but actually impact our sport at the highest level and then focus on retraining our minds, transforming our current operations."
Among the other speakers at the webinar were president of the TT Olympic Committee Brian Lewis, sport management lecturer at the University of TT (UTT) Stacey Cateau and senior instructor at UTT Ato Rockcliffe, who has experience in sport for development.