Staying Connected



With the recent cancellations of school, games, tournaments, meets, and just about everything else—our student-athletes are likely feeling more isolated than ever before.

So, how can we keep in contact and let them know we’re here for them and care about them? Our InSideOut team is sharing valuable advice and examples of how to stay plugged in during this difficult time. We’re adding new topics and resources each week, so check back often!

We want to hear from you. If you’d like to share some best practices or ways you’re staying connected with your student-athletes in the time of COVID-19, let us know at If we feature your idea, we’ll send you a Purpose > Goal shirt!




Connection > Communication

With the recent cancellations of school, games, tournaments, meets, and just about everything else—our student-athletes are likely feeling more isolated than ever before. So, how can we keep in contact and let them know we’re here for them and care about them?

Mindset Matters

Mindset matters now more than ever. Over the last few years there have been many books, articles and professional development around the importance of a growth mindset. Never has that been more important than during these days we are currently experiencing across not only the country, but the entire planet.

The Gift of Gratitude

In the midst of social distancing, our student-athletes are certainly in the midst of difficult times. They are grieving the loss of camaraderie and community that comes with their sport. Teaching student-athletes how to practice gratitude will give them practical tools to alleviate some of their loss, while also developing a healthy lifetime skill. Expressing thanks and gratitude is a worthy endeavor anytime. Right now, it just might be the most important thing they can do.

True Grit

We are navigating unprecedented and difficult times. All the spring activities to which students have been looking forward have been stripped away, and social distancing, stay-at-home orders and sheltering in place have forced a disconnect between all of us. Right now, we could all use some extra grit—the combination of passion, resilience and determination that allows a person to persevere in their goals even in the face of discomfort and lack of visible progress.


There’s no playbook for leadership when the stakes are high, and there’s certainly no clear plan for how to lead in the face of a pandemic. But intentional, purposed-based leadership now can help create better and stronger student-athletes and communities on the other side of COVID-19.

Process vs. Outcome

Transformational leaders develop a culture focused on the process.  They inspire and measure the daily disciplines, choices, and habits developed in pursuit of a desired outcome instead of the outcome itself.  This approach results in growth, improvement, and self-awareness. It also establishes a definition of success far more rewarding that one simply based on wins and losses. By learning to love the process, we can experience the joy in who we are becoming, versus simply what we may achieve.


If there is one thing this COVID-19 spring sports season has taught us, it’s the importance of teamwork—working towards a shared purpose and picking each other up when we are down. Here are a few ways coaches can help student-athletes continue to develop teamwork even when not able to be together in person.


There’s an age-old notion that sports build character. But Joe Ehrmann reminds us that character is learned. Therefore it can be taught, but it can’t be learned if it isn’t modeled. So coaches and educational leaders must be intentional in order to strengthen a student-athlete’s moral fiber.


When it comes to being a purpose-based coach, building an intentional community is one of the greatest challenges many of us face. We’re not just the coach, but instead we are leading the entire program—often starting at ages before kids can even tie their own shoes. Our schools and our athletic programs are at the focal point of community pride.


As adults, we should have intentional conversations about keeping fun a part of the game. As a coaching staff or department, make it a standard practice to share ideas about keeping our activities fun, engaging, and rewarding. Here are exercises to get you started.

Community Submissions

Lisa Myran-Schutte, Activities Director, Pine Islands

This is what my coaches posted last night after MN Governor Walz had a press conference for MN to Stay Home and distance learning until May 4 (for now). My two head coaches for Track and Field are married and are a pure example of education based athletics.

Andy Chan, Head Track and Field Coach, Sacred Heart Cathedral

I send my team one message per day on our school’s communication platform. I also made this virtual team meeting video which proved to be both humorous and a reminder about staying at home.

Scott McCready, Athletic Director, St. Charles High School

We were supposed to host our first home track meet of the year tonight, the 2020 Fingers Crossed Invitational. Obviously it was cancelled. I made this video and sent it our student-athletes. Introducing: the 2020 Fingers Crossed Invitational: McCready Edition

Keri Walters, Women’s Athletic Director, Esperanza High School

Keri and her assistant coach challenged their tennis players by posting tennis tricks with a racquet and ball. In the videos, they ask the players to record themselves trying to learn the trick and post for their teammates.

Philip Levine, Athletic Director/Assistant Principal, Lebanon Community School

Philip’s school shared a video of their school mascot, encouraging student-athletes to work your body as well as your mind.

Ryan Hulse, Activities Director, St. Croix Lutheran

Ryan reminds all athletes that their purpose doesn’t just apply to athletics. Even though they’re not participating in their favorite sport, they can still live the “We Are Sader” mantra wherever they are.


Larry Kissinger, Director of Athletics, Goshen High School

Larry shares a lesson on leadership with his student-athletes from his family’s favorite team, the Green Bay Packers.