The present situation with coronavirus aka Covid-19 is a challenge to fitness coaches everywhere.
For those who are fully fit and fortunate enough not to have contracted this terrible virus that has affected almost every family in the country, the mandatory restrictions placed on not leaving the home emphasise the reality of the situation.
People are having to adapt if Covid-19 is going to be beaten; and clearly the way to avoid spreading the virus is to stay indoors. The less contact made with other people then the lower the risk of contracting coronavirus; and of spreading it. Everyone has had to re-evaluate their priorities.
And the one thing that has been apparent in the last few weeks is that people are now accepting that in the grand scheme of things, football comes way down the ladder of importance.
Coronavirus has certainly put everything into context. Compared to the loss of human life, all talk about contracts, bonuses and sponsorship is totally inappropriate.
Contrast that to Real Madrid’s decision last week to use the Bernabéu as a medical supply and storage facility which hasn’t been given nearly as much publicity as it should have.
The same applies to the club’s donation announced by the President, Florentino Pérez, to the Comunidad de Madrid in order to buy extra medical supplies and let’s not forget Sergio Ramos’ own personal contribution to the fighting fund as well.
No doubt others will follow suit. As football adapts as a result of coronavirus the clear message came from all the artists and players who took part in the football and music La Liga Santander Fest on Saturday night. All were unanimous in urging people to stay at home (!) and this is where the fitness people come in.
A couple of weeks ago in countries where the lockdown was declared, fitness coaches were suddenly faced with a new challenge: how to keep players fit when training is confined exclusively to the home for an indefinite period of time.
Rising to meet the need for providing customised training programmes to players everywhere has been something that the coaches have wholeheartedly embraced. Videos abound of players going through home exercise routines either on the instructions of the coaches or under their own steam.
Grégory Dupont didn’t waste any time in getting Real Madrid’s players on to programmes customised to meet individual needs; yet it’s hard to maintain the momentum that you only get when training in group situations - but something had to give and that’s just one of the ways in which everyone has to adapt.
But it’s not only about keeping players physically fit although that’s the aim at the moment. Other factors come into play as well. There’s the mental aspect of training at home and this is where maintaining set routines devised by the clubs are important. So too is the correct nutrition; something that could easily be overlooked if we’re not careful.
Yet incredibly some clubs have attempted to continue training in the current climate despite the leagues having placed on hold.
As the situation has varied across the globe, FIFPRO - the World Players Union – reported having being asked to intervene in countries where football had continued to be played or where clubs had attempted to train throughout the crisis.
There’s been talk at some clubs in Europe of staying five metres away from team mates during sessions; who thought that one up? And what about the risk of spreading or contracting the virus in changing areas, showering, or to medical staff when managing the injuries?
Who is going to apply the strappings, open up the training complexes and get the equipment ready?
The current situation affects those undergoing treatment and rehab as well. Most of us by now will have seen the video of Marco Asensio kicking a ball by the pool in his garden and can emphasise with Eden Hazard’s situation having been post-op for the last few weeks following ankle surgery.
In these scenarios, it’s not only the fitness that can be a challenge but also to ensure that players undergoing ‘home rehab’ are using the correct techniques.
One thing that has clearly emerges though is that players are now having to accept greater responsibility for their own fitness; aided of course by the medical and fitness teams as opposed to this being the other way around!
It’s one thing discussing football and fitness though, but let’s not forget that the serious side of this outbreak makes football, injuries and fitness pale into insignificance.
We need to continue to work towards limiting the spread of coronavirus and that’s far more important than anything else at the present time.