The Quarantine Athlete

As someone who is an athlete and works with athletes on a daily basis even now, both at a school and professional level, I have seen a lot of different reactions to the lockdown situation we find ourselves in. From the dropping everything and taking a complete break to the incredibly frustrated at not having the resources in order to train how they might want to, everyone has reacted differently.

Although we are not all in the same boat, as some of us have a lot more resources than others, we are all facing the same storm. And one thing that we all have is time. It's how we use that time that will determine whether we come out of this ahead of the curve or well behind it.

So the big question is, as an athlete in quarantine how can I best use my time to come out the other side stronger? Well here is my step by step answer for you.

Take time off!

This might sound obvious but trust me. If you found yourself in the middle of your season one minute and being flung into quarantine the next, the first thing you need to do is take a second. Few athletes ever get the chance for some time off, so utilise it! Physically recover and mentally get your head into the right space to tackle this situation going forward. In other words, relax and then plan.

Review yourself!

Before you do anything it's important to have some reasoning. In this day and age most games/events at almost every level are filmed in some way or another. Look back at your footage. Watch yourself and be critical, find weak points in your performance and note them down. More important than having strengths is not having weaknesses so figure out the areas where you can improve, select drills you could use to help you and then form a rough diary of when you are going to do each one.

Watch your heroes!

Youtube is great for finding full games or events that you can watch. Look for someone who you idolise or base your style/game on and see if you can copy some of the little things they do. This might even serve as a way to reignite your passion for your sport, and you'll come out of quarantine with a renewed sense of purpose.

Find new ways to train!

There are plenty of Strength and Conditioning coaches out there that offer their services online at the moment (Including me). Use them, ask questions, do virtual training, programs or even just ask for some advice; most will be happy to help. Not having a gym doesn't mean we can't work on fitness, agility, speed or even reaction time. Where one door closes you may find many other doors that you have been putting off opening for some time.

Develop a proper recovery strategy!

How often do you stretch, properly? Not just pulling your heel to your bum or your elbow over your head... Most of us never really put enough time into developing really good muscle quality. 30 seconds on every muscle group can take as long at 45 minutes and you feel great afterwards. There are plenty of mobility videos on YouTube or simply ask someone you know who is a Strength and Conditionist, PT or Yoga instructor.

Have a real look at your diet!

I might be a Personal Trainer, but my diet isn't perfect and I am far from a good cook. However, I understand what I am eating and the reasoning behind why I am eating it. All of this can be found on the web. My advice would be to ask someone you know in the health and fitness industry and avoid fad diets like the plague (or Coronavirus). Learn to cook and track your water intake. Learning to cook might be something that after quarantine saves you heaps of money that can be spent on something else much more beneficial.

Improve your skills!

This is more relevant to ball related sports. Let's be honest here, as much as we can develop our skills at training twice a week, that's not where we are going get most of our skill development from. Playing with a ball in the garden/living room when you were a kid is where you learned to pass, kick or dribble. Use this opportunity to brush up on the skills you might have been neglecting recently.

All of these might seem to be obvious but by developing these basics, building a better body, creating a clear mind and learning to fuel yourself properly, you can be sure that you will be coming out of quarantine streaks ahead of everyone else and with a newly found focus!

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