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Doing sport and physical activity at the different Alert Levels

Regular physical activity is important to our physical and mental wellbeing. It’s important to stay active during COVID-19. 

The official COVID-19 website gives you all the information you need about playing sports and other recreational activities at each of the Alert Levels.

Find out how to exercise safely at the different Alert Levels

Hygiene while exercising

  • Stay home if you’re unwell, this including fever, a runny nose and a cough.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow and don’t touch your face.
  • At Alert Level 2 the risk of COVID-19 being present in the community is higher. You're encouraged to wear face coverings when you're indoors at sport and recreation facilities. You can remove your face covering when you're exercising or playing sports.
  • 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.
  • Always wear gloves if first aid is required.
  • Players, coaches and parents must be aware of the signs and symptoms of acute respiratory illness.

Read more about COVID-19 symptoms

Physical conditioning

Make sure you’re physically prepared for the demands of your sport or physical activity:

  • Maintain aerobic conditioning while you’re at home and cannot train with your team.
  • Schedule a minimum pre-season of two to three weeks before a return to competitive sport.
  • Use the ACC Sportsmart warm up at least twice a week to help develop core, strength, balance, and change of direction and landing ability.

ACC warm up


Our partner programmes:

NetballSmart

RugbySmart

LeagueSmart

Fit4Football

Touchfit 360

Getting back into training and playing

  • Keep in mind that most players will have lower levels of physical conditioning and fitness than normal.
  • Training sessions should focus on physical conditioning and developing sport-specific fitness to minimise the risk of injury.
  • Encourage athletes to use running and biking to develop fitness and capacity. Gradually increase as needed.
  • Include skills training and appropriate progressions.
  • Use the ACC Sportsmart warm up at least two times per week to improve performance, minimise the risk of injury and maintain core, strength and balance.

These neuromuscular training programmes develop:

  • core strength
  • balance
  • agility
  • good landing technique
  • quick change of direction.

Contact sports

  • In contact sports, encourage non-contact training initially to ensure the body is physically conditioned.
  • Ideally, athletes need to spend two to three weeks progressing to full contact training.
  • Before re-introducing contact training make sure the appropriate protocols are in place to aid contact tracing.

Find out how contact tracing works

Training protocols

  • Contact tracing is mandatory.
  • Hand washing is the single best strategy to reduce the spread of illness:
    • Wash hands before and after every training session
    • 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 immediately after every session.
  • Don't share drink bottles or hand towels. This is good practice anyway but is especially important now.
  • Minimise the sharing of equipment/balls/uniforms. Where equipment must be shared ensure that all participants wash and dry their hands before and afterwards, and clean and disinfect the equipment before and after use.
  • Have a plan to decontaminate gear. Limit contact with gear where possible (only coach to touch cones and other training equipment where possible).
  • Cleaning equipment and clothes:
    • 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 the manufacturer’s 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.

Attending sports events

Follow the Governments guidelines and advice about attending large events and using public venues at each of the Alert Levels.

More about events and using public venues

COVID-19 information

The official Unite Against COVID-19 website is continuously updated and gives you access to the latest information.

Unite Against COVID-19 website

More information

When to wear a face covering

Find out if you can travel

Looking after your mental wellbeing

Sport NZ COVID-19 information and resources