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At Level 2 a return to sport is permitted


Basic requirements

Physical contact can occur in any sporting situation between players, coaches, and officials as long as contact tracing protocols are in place.

Both indoor and outdoor trainings are allowed (contact training required). Sport NZ has up to date information on the number of people permitted at each session and within a venue or facility.

Sport NZ website

Contact team sports and physical activities can only take place if good contact tracing is possible and hygiene measures, particularly washing and drying of hands, and regular sanitising of equipment and surfaces are in place.


1. General Hygiene

  • Stay home if at all unwell
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow
  • Avoid touching your face during training
  • Be aware of surfaces many other people may have touched
  • No spitting in the training environment under any circumstance
  • Avoid using club rooms or dressing rooms for meetings where possible
  • Ensure gloves are worn at all times if first aid is required.

Training sessions should have a focus on physical conditioning and developing sport-specific fitness with a view to minimising the risk of injury.

All players/coaches/parents must be aware of the signs and symptoms of acute respiratory illness. Do not come into a training environment with:

  • fever
  • runny nose
  • cough.

2. Transitioning to sport

It's important to keep in mind that all players will have lower levels of physical condition and fitness than normal at this time of year.

  • In contact sports, encourage non-contact training initially to ensure the body is physically conditioned
  • Prior to re-introducing contact training ensure the appropriate protocol is in place so that you can trace all players once you start contact training again
  • Encourage athletes to use running and biking to develop fitness and capacity. Gradually increase as needed
  • Develop core, strength and balance to physically prepare for the demands of the sport
  • Use the ACC Sportsmart warm up at least two times per week to improve performance and minimise the risk of injury
  • These Neuromuscular training programmes develop:
    • core strength
    • balance
    • agility
    • good landing technique
    • quick change of direction
  • Include skills training and appropriate progressions
  • Ideally, athletes need to spend two to three weeks progressing to full contact training.

3. Training Protocols

Wash hands before and after every training

Hand washing is the single best strategy to reduce the spread of illness. You should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds in soapy water before and then immediately after every session.

If hand washing facilities aren't available, take hand sanitiser to training.

Aim to have a shower and wash your gear in a hot wash immediately after every session.

Don't share drink bottles or hand towels

This is good practice anyway but is especially important now. COVID-19 is spread by droplets and sharing a drink bottle is a bad idea.

Have a plan to decontaminate gear

Limit contact with gear where possible (only coach to touch cones and other training equipment where possible).

For sports requiring mouthguards (compulsory at all levels of return to sport) it's important to keep the mouthguard in for the duration of the game/training and sanitise after every use. Wash hands immediately after handling.

Where possible wash all sports equipment after training (balls, rackets, bats etc)

A mix of water, bleach and detergent can be used to sterilise most items such as balls and bats where the surface can be wiped. Some equipment requires very specific cleaning to maintain the integrity of the equipment (eg some leather). If unsure how to clean equipment, follow manufacturers instructions.

A hot wash is appropriate for clothing and equipment like bibs.

Consider rotating equipment for sports where the equipment is difficult to clean, eg ropes or nets. Using equipment on a three-day cycle can help limit the spread of the virus, but be aware that it can survive on some surfaces for longer than this.

Continue to practice physical distancing where possible

Consider staggering the start times where possible to avoid too many people arriving/leaving at the same time or groups crossing over between sessions.

Continue to practice physical distancing according to Sport NZ guidelines. You may need to consider limiting the number of players at a single session.

No heading the ball - in relevant sports

Stick to the session plan and don't be tempted to break the rules.

4. More information


  • Avoid any unnecessary social gatherings and conduct games 'behind closed doors'
  • For the most up-to-date information on the number of spectators permitted within a venue/facility visit the Sport NZ website
  • Follow Ministry of Health guidelines regarding groups and gatherings
  • Ensure that guidelines apply to all club areas including changing rooms, clubhouse and toilets.

Prepare for training and return to play

  • Maintain aerobic conditioning while at home and unable to train with your team
  • Schedule a minimum 'pre-season' of two to three weeks prior to a return to competitive sport
  • Use the ACC Sportsmart warm up at least twice a week to help develop core, stability, strength, change of direction and landing ability.

Get information from reliable sources

  • Stay up to date with Ministry of Health guidelines and make sure that you understand the impact they have on your sports participation
  • Follow recommendations from your relevant sporting body eg New Zealand Football, Netball New Zealand or New Zealand Rugby
  • Listen to your coach and follow their session plan.

Download a printable PDF version of this information:

Safe return to sport guidelines for COVID-19 Level 2