Worried that young athletes are losing motivation, coaches want youth sports to return

Coaches, parents seek earlier return of outdoor youth sports on Oahu

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Under the city’s latest reopening strategy, outdoor organized sports won’t be allowed until there’s an average of fewer than 20 cases per day and a positive case rate of less than 1%. Some fear that it could be months or even next year before that benchmark can be met.

But there is talk of a possible exemption for UH and Aloha Stadium, which seems unfair to many.

Youth sports, like Little League Baseball and youth soccer, have been on hold or online.

And that’s been getting harder as restrictions continue.

“We’ve definitely had more arguments around the house you know? I mean, I can’t speak for everybody else, but man, it’s been hard. The kids have to burn off that steam, they have to get out,” said Darren Kaneshiro of Hawaii Rush Soccer.

Kaneshiro has been holding training sessions via Zoom two or three times a week. But that’s starting to break down as school has resumed, mostly via distance learning.

“Even know, I’ve had kids that will miss training,” said Kaneshiro. “They’ll let me know, but they’ll miss training because they have to get out of the house.”

Other coaches say their kids are becoming discouraged.

“This week we spoke about motivation,” said Damon Turcio, who coaches the soccer teams Le Jardin Chelsea and Paradise Futsal. “Some kids are just losing some motivation to train on their own because they say, what’s the point?”

The Centers for Disease Control has come out with guidelines for youth sports that coaches say are feasible.

“With all these youth sports, we’re able to control the groups of kids that we have in a certain session,” said Turcio. “I was putting cones spread out so that during water breaks everybody’s separated and they can talk to each other in a safe manner.”

“There’s many sports organizations that are recommending the need for physical exercise outside, which outside is the safest place to be,” said Dr. Elizabeth Ignacio, a sports physician.

Ignacio also said there are signs that exercise can increase immunity against the virus.

“So rather than coming from the standpoint of being fearful of the virus and, oh, let’s just hide and stay inside, what about being proactive in terms of exercise, which can build immunity,” said Ignacio.

“I think what we’re trying to strike is the delicate balance between the emotional and mental health of the children, and then having some cases pop up here and there and then control them before they get wildly out of control,” said Kaneshiro.

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