I wanted to share a valuable piece of work I thought could be helpful, created by one of my students – Stefan Thomas. As you hopefully know by now, my mission is all about the relentless pursuit of empowering potential. A big part of that for me is providing mentorship to the next generation of thought leaders and professionals within the mental performance space. Stefan is a 4th year university student who has been doing a field placement with me as part of his program, since September.
I hope you enjoy this feature post written by Stefan in collaboration with myself.
How Can I Remain Active & Engaged When Training Facilities Are Closed or Restricted?
At the beginning of the pandemic, although games and seasons came to a halt, athletes were still able to find ways to train; whether in local gyms or their own training facilities. However, as the pandemic has evolved and advanced, many facilities in Canada that athletes have been depending on to remain fit for when their seasons potentially return have either rolled out massive restrictions (such as limits on the capacity of people allowed to enter the facility) or have temporary closed down until further notice.
So what do you do? If you or your athletes are stuck at home and not sure how to effectively stay in shape or game ready, then read on. There are many things you can still do at home to stay active and get prepared for when you’re fully immersed back into the world of sports! So get creative and see a few ideas below…
3 ways to continue to train during COVID-19 as an athlete:
Utilize Your Environment
Mental Visualization and Imagery Training
1. Utilize Your Environment
While some athletes have adequate equipment within their living space, you may not. Either way, don’t be afraid to get creative and use your environment to your advantage. Believe it or not, doing workouts a little differently will stimulate different muscles and movement patterns which could prove to be very beneficial in the long run.
TIP: Here are some ideas to help you get started:
Use objects in your home as substitutes for your workouts. (i.e., use your chair to do chest dips, do wall sits, etc.
Do free weight workouts. Utilize workouts that do not require you to use any equipment. (i.e., push-ups, wall sits, sit-ups, planks, jumping jacks, lunges, etc.)
Use the surrounding space around you and incorporate it into your training. (i.e., use any nearby stairs and develop a daily routine that targets the area you are seeking to improve; whether it be cardio, core, flexibility, etc.)
Go on youtube and search home workouts. There is loads of free content out there that can keep you busy and productive for hours, upon hours, upon hours……..
2. Mental Visualization and Imagery Training
Mental imagery and visualization is the process of mentally rehearsing a particular scene in your mind that you want to create in real life. Research has found that using this technique has led to positive effects in an athlete’s overall performance (Olsson et al., 2008). Upon first glance, it is easy to mistake this technique as casually imagining what your desired outcome is, however, in order for mental imagery to be effective, you must mentally and fully step into the situation you are trying to create. Be sure to incorporate all of your senses (i.e., sight, sound, touch, smell, etc.). Using these sensory feelings will enhance the level of detail that is shown in the visualization and increase the power of the experience and its effectiveness.
Tip: Develop a mental script of a few desired outcomes you want to achieve when you get the chance to start playing again. Spend 10-15 minutes mentally rehearsing the event with as much detail and feeling as possible, until the motions become natural. Guess what?! You are building muscle memory and will be getting yourself closer to your desired outcome.
3. Studying Film
Studying film and video can at times be undervalued or simply not given the time and consistency required for it to be used as an effective learning tool. Diving into this now can give you a real opportunity to see and study your own game from a different lense, and it can also help you learn some of the ins and outs of your opponents. It can also be used to study what some of the best in your game are doing and help you advance your thought process within the game.
TIP: Look for recorded footage of your games, competitions, and of teams/individuals you usually compete against. (If footage isn’t easily accessible due to the type of sport you play or the league you play in, don’t hesitate to ask your trainers or coaches if they have any footage to provide or suggestions.)
- Carefully study the film and watch for things you did well, things you can improve on, how well your team is executing plays, and anything else that might be beneficial.
The coronavirus has brought many challenges for athletes all around the world, but with it comes new opportunities. I hope you will try some of Stefan’s tips and continue to find new ways to grow and enhance your skills.
I’d love to hear your experience with how you have remained active and engaged during the pandemic! Leave a comment below.
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