It is the first time in at least 40 years that the entire South African schooling system has been ”shut down” with the holidays being lengthened to aid in the worldwide fight against the spread of the coronavirus.
Normally during March and April parents spend time with their children when schools are closed.
The problem now is that it is probably not a good idea to go out to public places, so children are left at home, bored, overeating, getting unfit and I can just imagine parents how are losing their marbles.
January marked the start of the fitness season for most athletes.
It also marks ”hell month” while they scramble to get fit again after the December holidays.
Just one month can set athletes quite far behind and it takes a good six to eight weeks to get back to a decent fitness level.
Now athletes across the country are forced to stay at home and this means fitness levels will be as terrible as the December holidays which also mean when sport resumes there is going to be a high level of injuries and unfit teams.
It doesn’t have to be that way and there is a way you can keep strong, agile and well-conditioned.
The science comes from proper design and that is why I love being a sports scientist so much.
You are presented with a tough situation when people are limited confined spaces and lacking essential equipment.
With all this said you still need to train and develop areas such as speed, agility strength, injury prevention, mobility, flexibility and fitness to name a few.
Like I said, the devil is in the detail.
Keep reading since we are giving away five prizes to our readers to a youth six-week strength, agility and conditioning homework programme.
How do you design a programme when there are so many exercises, drills and designs out there?
That is the power of having sports science and a team of intellectuals who can argue the essence of why they believe a drill should be added to the design.
But before they can give their view, they have to be governed by rules or parameters of the design.
Let’s take strength development for example.
What is the essence of strength in relation to the athletes’ physical development and what is needed for their sport?
How do achieve these results when you are confined to smaller spaces with minimal or no equipment?
We break down strength design into four key areas: a push, a pull, a lift and a squat.
A hockey player needs to run with a stick and ball and absorb contact forces of pushing and pulling while maintain balance and stability.
When the hockey player shoots the ball, he or she has to have a strong lower leg strength combined with great core stability in order to have the pillar strength to accurately guide the ball in the direction he wants.
Let’s say the athlete has poor leg strength, poor core and weak upper body strength.
As the match goes on, his passes will be less accurate, he will be less efficient on the field and become less of an asset to the team as the match plays on.
In our design we need to focus on simple exercises to start to make sure that the right technique is followed and thus the right muscles are used.
The problem with the world’s best “Google drill” is that it is often designed for elite athletes where-by their bodies are race cars already and then they are asked to perform a multi complex movement which includes some form of cognitive decision making or autonomy.
Is a 10-year old ready for Google’s best drill?
Of course not, in fact you will probably get hurt doing it because your body is not ready on so many levels for it.
We also design to not do this by isolating body parts like typically performed in gym such as a bicep curls, shoulder press or leg extensions.
Developing single body parts has no place in sport development and often what athletes overdevelop in the gyms causes injuries on the field.
Hockey players don’t stay in one spot, receive a ball, pass the ball and then repeat.
They are always on the move and using multiple muscles under movement.
A single leg knee bend into a thrust up into a thrust up is more of a movement we love.
It involves developing your big muscle groups; hip flexors which is responsible for leg lifting and more speed into upper body strength, all the while stabilising your core so you can control your centre mass.
This power exercise has science and purpose and can be done with or without a resistance band and is incredibly more valuable to an athlete’s development than buying some dumbbells and working on your bench press.
To recap, understand what the goal is, understand your limitations, understand how each development category works from a sports science point of view, keep it simple and keep the sport in mind and for goodness sake don’t Google drills without understanding the above-mentioned.
We have designed a six-week home ASP Sports Science Youth Strength, Agility and Conditioning programme combined with a “CAM Day” where your alternative days will included core, abs and mobility development.
Five readers can win access to the programme which will include daily exercises, videos, weekly newsletter and a sports science coach to answer any of your questions.
If you are worried about coming back to your sport unfit and weak then enter the competition.
We are giving away five prizes each week for the rest March.
If you would like to know more about the program for your children please contact me on email@example.com.
Sean van Staden is a sport scientist. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanVStaden or visit advancedsp.co.za.
For more sport your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.
BACK TO CITIZEN
BACK TO PREMIUM
The Citizen. All rights