HOW TO KEEP
A RUGBY CLUB INTERESTED DURING LOCKDOWN
Every one of us has accepted the lockdown as positively as possible, discovering ways to keep boredom at bay, our bodies active, all the while staying as safe as possible.
Entertainment and interaction are cornerstones of society and sportspersons across the spectrum have found themselves side-lined in the interests of public safety.
Yet how does a coach keep the interest of players, at the same time maintaining a level of fitness that will allow him to play the type of game he chooses once the league can recommence? How does he conduct fitness sessions at say fifty different locations whereas he would normally have had those players at one venue? The disparity of space available to every player is also a consideration. One may have a property which allows him to complete running laps of reasonable distance, while another may only have his room wherein to train.
Then there is mental stimulation so necessary to fight boredom and failing interest, every coach’s nightmare. All of this would be a challenge under normal circumstances, an even greater challenge under current conditions. No matter the sporting code, coaches have been challenged in so many ways. This without the advantage of a history to which to refer and insufficient warning to plan before implementation.
False Bay RFC Director of Rugby, Johnno van der Walt has managed to keep his charges hard at work and interested over the last five weeks.
Fitness partners, False Bay Cross-Fit ran online sessions open to all, including supporters. The sessions were shared online amongst the players and on the Club’s very popular Facebook page for all to utilise. The player base participated in a 21-day fitness challenge, which involved 21 km of running, cycling, rowing, swimming and walking, dependent on whatever equipment was available to individuals. There were also 2100 repetitions of exercises such as press-ups, sit-ups and squats.
Online Pilates and stretching classes were held, with “WoD’s” (Workouts of the Day), designed, distributed and held by the strength and conditioning coach.
Naturally self-discipline is a cornerstone of a programme such as this, but the majority of modern-day rugby player possess this, the game demanding too much in terms of fitness to neglect this essential facet.
Maintenance of mental interest is equally important and ZOOM quiz meetings were held, equally entertaining and fun-filled as if conducted at a single venue. FIFA’20 PlayStation competitions added to the fun, camaraderie and competitive nature the players, maintaining interest which could so easily have waned. Coaches meetings too were held on ZOOM
The various player WhatsApp groups were platforms for a lively “Call of Duty” gaming competition and online fundraising competitions were held by the players to give back to the club and assist with basic expenses such as electricity and water.
Boredom has been a constant companion for all of us during the lockdown and False Bay’s Facebook page joined the battle in diverting attention albeit for short periods at a time. With well over 7000 followers, the page is amongst the top rugby club pages in the country, including the Universities. Bredon Shields, manager of the page, has kept it fresh and entertaining with multiple daily posts. A popular series was the broadcast of the Bay’s Gold Cup campaigns in 2016 and 2017.