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Student-Athletes Unbreakable During ‘Circuit Breaker’

Home-Based Learning and Training

Even after Singapore announced its “circuit breaker” measures on 3 April 2020, the routine continued for Singapore Sports School student-athletes – only in a different setting and over all parts of Singapore.

Home-Based Learning and Training (HBLT) kicked in on 8 April as schools closed in the country’s effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) among its population. Lessons are conducted through online platforms and training plans disseminated to student-athletes. Student-athletes check-in daily with their academy mentors, coaches and teammates to ensure that student-athletes remain socially connected with their peers during this period of stepped-up physical distancing measures.

Some say that uncomfortable situations spark creativity. With limited access to resources, home may not be the most ideal venue for studying and training for many. However, student-athletes, teachers and coaches have worked around their problems to make the current situation work for them. On top of using video conferencing software such as Google Meet to conduct lessons, student-athletes now submit their hardcopy homework by using mobile phones to scan and convert them into softcopy.

On the sport front, netballer Raeka Ee Pei Ying and her teammates have embraced the current situation, incorporating items found at home into their training.

“In order to not lose touch of the sport, we include ball handling, passes and netball-based drills into our self-training, making full use of whatever resources we have. Home-based training brings out the creativity in us, converting whatever space we have into our personal training ground. Some of us have also created our own agility ladders with cardboard and masking tape, while others use rice sacks as weight.”

However, the IBDP Year 5 student-athlete admits that training quality has taken a hit. “We depend mostly on training videos online and our self-discipline to keep up training intensity. We also fill –out training logs so that our coaches can monitor our self-training load. It’s easy to lose the motivation to self-train, but it helps to have my teammates train together on video.

“Chemistry is important in team sports, therefore having to train alone at home for a month will be a challenge for the team. However, we have learnt to make the most out of the situation. Instead of dwelling on the fact we cannot train together as a team, we continue to work on our fitness, agility, speed and power so that when we return to full team training, we can focus rebuilding chemistry within the team.

“Catching up with our friends whom we used to see almost every day is not as easy as it used to be, but we have gone onto apps to video call each other and play mobile games with each other. Most importantly, the ‘circuit breaker’ has been an awakening for us who take our freedom and meeting our friends physically for granted.

“Every cloud has a silver lining! Always find the positives in the situation no matter how dark it may seem. Take the time to cultivate some good habits like reading more books and learning something new (online)! Soon the dark cloud will pass, and we’ll see the light again. Please stay at home or COVID won’t leave us alone! We may be far away from one another, but never apart in heart. Stay at home, stay safe, stay connected. #SGUnited,” said Raeka, Vice-Chairman of the Council of School Captains.

Prior to “circuit breaker”, with the ever-evolving COVID-19 situation, common areas such as training facilities, classrooms and The Arena – our dining hall – were frequently disinfected to maintain a safe and clean environment for student-athletes to study and train in. Student-athletes were regularly reminded to practise good hygiene habits, while maintaining proper physical distancing with their peers. Protocol was heightened to suspend external training and limit visitors to the school, to ensure the safety of student-athletes on campus.