Travel Abroad: A Guide for Coaches and Team Managers
Whether you are the coach or team manager of a school sports team, AAU program, or a regional team, it is your job to make sure players will be safe on the road. If the proper precautions are not taken, your program, company, or school is liable and unexpected expenses could fall on the coach or team manager who hosted the team while traveling. Planning and being prepared can easily avoid such liability.
Part of this planning is researching and investing in group travel insurance. This should be done before anything else as this will immediately offer the players’ families peace of mind and show them that you care for the health and well-being of the team.
Tips for Keeping Your Team Healthy on an International Trip
Here are some other tips for coaches and team managers wanting to keep their sports team healthy on the road:
Hydration: Give each player a list of things they must bring with them on the trip, such as an extra-large water bottle (filled with water, providing the team is not going through airport security) or if the team is flying two empty water bottles in a carry-on that can be filled once everyone has passed through security.
Players should also ensure they have money for sports drinks, fruit juices and other liquids necessary to stay hydrated while traveling, while practicing and during game time.
Nutrition: More than likely, your sports team will need a lot of food. Look for buffet-style restaurants that will offer players the amount of food that is right for them. Buffet restaurants usually accommodate large groups comfortably as well. Just ensure the players are not choosing high sodium foods (which will dehydrate them) and that they are opting for proteins, carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables.
Coaches or team managers can also collect money ahead of time or ask the players to bring money with them and visit a local supermarket where either the players or a volunteer can select and purchase nutritious energy-filled snacks such as granola bars, fruits, and juice boxes. This way the players won’t be as tempted to buy junk food from vending machines.
Routine: If your team will be on the road for an extended amount of time, try and establish a routine that the players can rely on every day, especially for exercise times, practice times, and mealtimes. Maintaining a healthy routine will decrease the tendency to overindulge in junk food, careless fun and will keep the players focused on the point of the trip, i.e., a playoff or championship game.
Research and Plan: Before leaving on the trip, research the proximity to a gym from the accommodations, and if the team will be staying at a hotel find out how big the gym is if there is a pool, and how many players each can accommodate at one time. Also, inquire about nearby paths or scenic routes for jogging or cycling. Make this information available to the players before departure so that they can plan their exercise routine accordingly, pack correctly, and know that exercise will be expected of them while on the road.
Medical Insurance: Group medical insurance plans prevent even worst-case medical scenarios from turning into a nightmare. Those responsible for organizing the sports trip should research and invest in medical coverage that will cover unexpected medical issues as well as emergency medical reunion coverage. This coverage will ensure that expenses are covered should a family member need to be transported to a player’s bedside if they are hospitalized. Investing in the right group travel insurance plan offers peace of mind to the players as well as their family and friends back home.
Note: Many Travel Medical Plans will exclude coverage for participation in organized sporting activities. Check with the provider to find a plan that meets your needs.
Before booking your sports team’s next trip, contact several insurance companies and ask questions about their group insurance plans.