COVID-19: How are you coping so far: Track Coach Kelsey Riggins

Kelsey Riggins is the Assistant Track & Field Coach (Jumps and Multi Events) at Murray State University, Kentuckey, USA. During the Global Pandemic of COVID-19, we wanted to ask Kelsey what life is like at the moment with no coaching on the horizon and the current state of limbo in the sporting World.

How are you coping with this strange year so far? 

Something I keep reminding myself is that we are all experiencing something new, a global pandemic is uncharted territory for everyone. In the world of college athletics, the majority of our daily life centers around in person interaction with our teams or athletes, so when you take that “in-person” interact away for the time being it changes a lot. I am coping by trying to keep a positive outlook, I may not be able to physically be around my athletes every day, but modern technology still keeps us all in touch. I have been able to dive more into some professional development, and also spend time with my significant other and our three-year-old. Having a job that takes you away from your child 6 of the 7 days a week, it has been nice to really experience who she is right now. She is exhausting, but smart, hilarious and imaginative. Refreshing to see the world from the eyes of a 3-year-old! 

How did you address and support your athletes when you told them the season was cancelled?

We initially did some team meetings when they were all still on campus, to be honest I feel like it all happened so fast that the time we had with them in person, we (as coaches) were trying to figure out what it all meant. As things unfolded and we had a plan to move forward I think support comes in different ways Every athlete is so different, they are all in different stages of their athletic career, academic career, personal growth. All of them are processing this time differently, I think as a coach you just have to be there for what they need from you. I could guess what they need, but I have learned from coaching that one thing athletes will que you in on, either verbally or through their actions is what they need from you. 

How are you keeping in touch with your athletes at the moment?

Texting, Phone Calls, Team GroupMe Chat and also weekly video calls with my event group (Jumps & Multi Events) to just check in, share any updates, see how everyone is doing. 

Have you been contacted by your Institution with any plans as to how you might get coaching life back to normal?  

Right now the focus is on making sure we finish the academic year strong and the mental health of our athletes. Our administration has done a great job communicating with coaches and athletes on all fronts.