The covid 19 Pandemic has created an unprecedented time for modern day sports. Organised sporting activities will be one of the last to return to normal. When they do, who knows what it might look like. Return to play and competition will present huge challenges for athletes and coaches alike. Here, experienced S&C coach Nathan Kelly highlights some of the factors that will need to be considered.
Athlete Preparedness during Lockdown
The governement are allowing people to leave their homes in order to exercise. This highlights how vital exercise is for general health. Athlete’s rely on health and fitness for their livelihood. As a result they have developed a high level of sport specific fitness. Developing and maintaining this fitness often requires specialist training activities and equipment.
It is unlikely that many athletes will possess the resources to maintain their sport specific training during lockdown. For example team sport athletes will not be able to work together on aspects of sports performance conditioning. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect athletes fitness levels to drop during lockdown. As a result their preparedness to play will deteriorate, creating several issues when squads return to training and competition.
Return to Play
Nobody knows in what format competitions and training will be allowed to resume. Individual versus team sports. Contact versus non contact sports. For those coaching squads, there will be the additional problem generated by varying levels of deconditioning amongst athletes. Athletes will be playing ‘catch up’ off the back of very non traditional pre-season’s. Even the most experienced S&C coach will have to come up with new approaches to re-conditioning their athletes.
Ramping up the volume and intensity of training too quickly is a risky strategy. This may be the season where slow and steady wins the day in successful return to play. There will be no short cuts or fitness hacks.