Choco's plan for Australians during coronavirus lockdown

Werribee senior coach Mark Williams has been a part of elite sporting systems for the best part of 45 years and has an important message for those of us stuck inside during the coronavirus lockdown.

The time is right for a team reset, so gather around and listen very carefully.

Yes, I’m talking to you.

Times are tough. But we’ve been through tough times before.

Remember, Richmond was “gone” four years ago, Damien Hardwick was about to get sacked and Peggy O’Neil was seen as a failed experiment. It showed that when we work together, have a single goal with great leadership and courage to stick to the plan, we can succeed.

People, especially young people, need purpose, belief and direction.

Doubt, futility and anxiety abounds, but we have a solution to help us get through.

Routine is important. We work best when we know what is next and what is expected of us. So set firm plans and goals each day. Have a “to do” list and DO IT. Cross them off and then write some more.

What’s your plan?

Set small steps, look back in a week and then in a month. You’ll be amazed at your progress and achievements.

There will be quiet and slow days ahead to bring your “A” game to your team. Reflect on what you do best. The A game is what each individual brings to the team — do what you do best, motivate others, lead others, prepare and share.

Drive is important. Get up each day with a purpose. There is opportunity in down times — time to think, time to reflect, and do something for your mindfulness.

Learn something new. Challenge yourself. Learn a new language. Learn to cook. Improve your fitness. Get stronger. Try to live without sugar.

Practice yoga as it will be great for your back and your brain.

Read something to develop you as a person. Write a song. I love music and might even give this a try. Write a story (or do a video diary) of your family’s experiences.

I will create a free video on home-alone footy coaching and skill drill tips. Stay tuned.

Take on this new challenge and learn to find a new way. Tidy and sort through all your stuff: clothes, tools, books, videos.

Show you care.

Find things you don’t need any more and prepare to donate them. Feel good about doing that.

Form groups. Get on WhatsApp groups. Check on your family and friends. Make sure you stay connected. You are not alone. Connect to those who are socially isolating by phone, Skype, text and Zoom.

Use the internet. Find something funny and laugh. Share your favourite fun clip, photos and quotes.

I want to see TV’s best sports movies of all time. Schedule this in. I can’t wait to see The Blind Side for the 20th time.

Sort out your music. Play it loud. Then sing it even louder.

Exercise. The benefits of being fit are important. Plan to challenge yourself each day and then do a bit more each day. Walk the dog. Get some sunshine. Smile more.

Home schooling will be a challenge. As a qualified and experienced teacher, I understand how daunting it can be to have your child’s education in your hands. Assist where you can. You can find anything you need on the internet. In the end, if it is too difficult, don’t get uptight and stressed. Just mark whatever you can’t do as incomplete. You will catch up later. Move on to the next task.

We now have real and meaningful family time. I have missed years with all the football seasons.

Play board games, watch movies together, throw the ball or play indoor soccer with some socks, make it up as you go along. Laugh a lot and savour these times.

Mental health is important. Stay sound and positive. Know what is going on, but don’t chase hourly updates on social media.

Finally, to those young, tough guys. Be a leader. Step up when you are needed.

Don’t be a dickhead.

Listen to the government and listen to the medical advice. Play your role and keep your distance.

Here are my life tips:

HAVE an open mind to learn new things;
SEEK out invention, innovation and expertise.
PRACTICE leadership daily. Be open and share the real you;
THINGS don’t just happen — make them happen;
SHOW how you care by your actions, don’t just talk about it;
WHEN under pressure, take three centering breaths;
EMBRACE diversity and allow everyone to shine;
SET goals and chase them — 10,000 hours is elite;
SAY thanks, congratulate, appreciate, recognise and reward;
BE a great friend and ask and notice. How are you going?

If I can help anyone from juniors to AFL in coaching or playing, please contact me through championteams.com.au/the-kick-doctor

This story was originally published on the Herald Sun website.