Runing a quidditch training session with social distancing?

So how do you run a quidditch training session with social distancing?

We’re not going to beat around the bush, it’s confusing and difficult figuring out what you can and can’t do. We might as well pull out the old crystal ball and try to guess what the government will do next. But don’t worry, the Olympians QC have you covered. Having run two successful sessions with our Covid plan in place, we can share how we are doing it.

The first thing you’re going to need to do is consult the latest advice from Quidditch UK (find guidance HERE), the current government guidelines, and the policies that your Students Union (If you are affiliated) are putting into place. You must abide by the most recent guidance to ensure that you are taking the safest steps for your attendees and acting in a legal manner.

Once you’ve checked the most recent guidance, you should then split your planning into two sections. The first section is your Covid mitigation plan. We recommend having a club member take the lead on preparing and policing it at your events. The second is your session and drill plan, which will be your coach or captain’s responsibility.

Having had two practice quidditch sessions in Manchester (and looking forward to a third in Leeds) we are now able to share how we are doing it;

Covid Mitigation Planning

Strap in, you’re in for a bumpy ride! Well, not really. Planning, preparing and putting into action a Covid mitigation plan can seem like a bit of a daunting task, but we’ve found that once you’ve done all the hard thinking, it’s incredibly simple to put into action.

Below, we have listed briefly all the steps we took to help keep our training sessions as safe as we can. If you would like to see our full mitigation plan, you can find it HERE.

Step 1 – Shopping
There’s no getting around this, you are going to need to go on a bit of a shopping spree to get some supplies. As a club, you need to decide what your budget is and what you need. As an example, we have purchased the following items to help keep the players and equipment sanitary;
– 80% alcohol WHO hand sanitiser
– Disposable surgical masks
– Anti-viral and bacterial spray
– Anti-viral and bacterial wipes
– Disposable gloves
– Disposable apron
– Bin liners
– Some shiny new cones
– A tape measure
– We also bought a new clipboard (but that’s just cos we’re being extra)

Step 2 – Keep apart
We all know that we should be at least 1 meter+ apart at the moment. To help make this easier, we designate an area as a baggage area. Within the baggage area we space out cones to create separate spaces for all the participants to store their bags and go to rest while keeping socially distant. By using cones, we can assign spaces to each player and help keep social times organised and safe.
If you are feeling a bit fancy, you can use cones to space out a small area near the baggage area as a designated first aid space. This helps ensure that any player who needs first aid treatment has a safe and clean space where they can receive treatment.

Step 3 – Clean those balls
Wipe and/or spray those balls! Before the session starts, we clean all the balls that will be used at the session using disinfectant sprays and/or wipes depending on the weather. The balls are normally the first thing players will interact with, often absentmindedly picking them up for a toss about. Be sure to clean them first before you set up, to limit the risk of transmission. We recommend cleaning the balls quickly again half way through the session if possible.

Step 4 – Cleaning and registering attendees
The first thing we do as attendees arrive is to sanitise their hands with our hand sanitiser to ensure they are cleaning them properly. It is then important to sign in players, including collecting a contact number off each player (in case anyone develops symptoms and track and trace has to be implemented).
As of the 23rd of August, trainings are limited to 30 participants. It is important to keep to this to keep your training legal and safe. Don’t be afraid to turn away people who haven’t let you know to expect them. Someone turning up unexpectedly can throw off planned groups or cause other annoying issues. Trust me, if you turn them away once for turning up unexpectedly, next time they will be the first to let you know if they are coming.

Step 5 – Get into groups
As of now, under government guidance you need to split your players into groups no bigger than 6 members. So, if you have 30, that’s going to be 5 groups of six players (We’ll let you do the maths for other amounts of players you might have).
This is a very simple step, though we do recommend planning your groups out prior to the session. By preparing the groups prior, it saves a load of time faffing during the session. Be careful to think about the group dynamics and skill levels when planning the groups, you want to make the session fun and useful for everyone.

 

Step 6 – Hide your face
You should really be wearing a mask when out and about around other people. Unfortunately, this also means while exercising in a group. The masks will help limit droplet transmission from heavy breathing and shouting.
Unfortunately, you can’t always trust everyone’s common sense. Figure out what points of the session definitely need masks to be worn and if there are any points that are potentially lower in risk, such as long passing drills. You will have to police when players must wear their masks. But don’t worry, after a few runs to get used to it, playing in a mask becomes really easy. (It’s like they’re designed to be breathable!)

 

Step 7 – Keep your equipment close
One of the easiest ways we’ve found to limit the risk of cross contamination is by keeping a set of balls with each group. Limiting the need to share balls between the training groups means fewer people from different households touching them. This does take a little bit of planning as you need to be sure each group has enough balls for each of the drills throughout the day. We found that one quaffle and two bludgers was sufficient for each group.
This approach can also be taken towards equipment such as brooms, where you keep the same broom with a single player throughout the day, making sure to clean it properly at the start and end of the session. The Olympians QC are yet to do this, instead we’ve favoured training without brooms to limit the equipment we’re using.

Step 8 – Kicking out time
The end of the session is just as important as the start of it. Designated team members are assigned to collect the equipment, these will normally be the team members who house and transport the equipment. It’s important to sanitise the equipment before packing it away.
We then need to look to dismissing the attendees. It is important go around each member and reapply hand sanitiser to them. We then recommend that players leave the area either alone or in small groups in a socially distanced manner.

Session and Drill Planning

We’ve found that there are two types of training that can be undertaken reasonably easily while abiding by the Covid rules; Fitness sessions and circuit training.

Team fitness sessions are very easy to implement with social distancing. Using cones to separate areas for individuals, you can use a series of body weight training, agility and sprint training activities to create a fun and useful session to help keep your team playing fit. The Olympians QC will publish a fitness session plan in the near future.

For now, we are going to focus on circuit training. This is the most well rounded and useful training in our opinion.

Circuit training is a very simple method to keep groups distanced while keeping the training active for all. It consists of a series of pre-set drills that are split into different areas. You then split your training session into timed segments, where at the end of each segment each group moves around to the next station. Tis that simple, very similar to how most teams hold their taster sessions.

The most difficult part is deciding which drills and games to put at each station. We can’t tell you the best ones to use, but we can tell you what we’ve been using. You can find our latest session plan HERE. We will be publishing more socially distanced training drills and games soon, We just like to test them out before recommending them.