Parental dilemma: Relying on private coaches during the COVID-19 pandemic

Granada Hills football coach Bucky Brooks.
(Courtesy Bucky Brooks)

Twitter and Instagram posts keep popping up showing high school athletes from Southern California working out without social distancing measures in place and without following safety guidelines recommended by local health departments and the CIF during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many are training under private coaches paid for by parents who want to keep their sons and daughters in training mode while high school coaches and sports facilities are unavailable.

It’s presenting a conflict that could be played out in the weeks and months ahead. High school coaches working for school districts could be fired for not following safety guidelines. Private coaches don’t face the same restrictions.

“I’ve lived in that world and I have a lot of friends in that world,” Granada Hills football coach Bucky Brooks said. “I think there’s some great private trainers. However, they have access to your kids and have access to things you would like to do. You are entrusting guys to develop them. You would wish they would adhere to the guidelines.”

Brooks said he understands the dilemma parents are facing when making decisions.

“It’s a tricky time,” he said. “My son is soon to be 17. He’s a rising senior baseball player. You want to give him the best spot to be seen. How much are you willing to sit back and wait? It’s a double-edge sword. You want to make sure you respect guidelines but also want to give kids a chance to be seen.”


It’s frustrating for parents following the guidelines to see others engaging in risky behavior that could adversely affect their child’s chances of playing in 2021 considering that high school sports will resume only if COVID-19 infection rates drop in California.

“You see on Instagram and Twitter some guys doing their own thing,” Brooks said. “Social media accounts from colleges, you see the spacing, the masks, the face shields. You don’t see the same on accounts of private trainers. I want them to keep in mind the safety and health and well-being of kids. The pandemic has ravaged everybody from a health and economic standpoint. How long can they go without doing it? That’s the challenge. The only thing you can ask from an outsider looking in is to put protocols in place. You don’t want a rash of kids to get sick and trainers to get sick.”

Brooks said everyone can be united in trying to help athletes.

“There’s a definite need for private trainers, whether for quarterbacks, skill people, the linemen,” he said. “We understand your value, but we want you to be responsible for young people. We may have to deal with the fallout. Acting responsibly will go a long ways to helping us all get back to sports.”