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#stayhomeforSG And Train!

Home-Based Training

Athletes all over the world have been adjusting to their new training ground – their homes – and have taken on a new space to be coached and interact with their team members – the digital space. It is no different for our student-athletes.

Since the announcement of the circuit breaker in early April, the way sport training is conducted had to be reimagined, reinvented and recrafted almost overnight. Lee Min Li, Senior General Manager for Netball Academy, explained, “Long-term home-based training is a completely new concept to us as we have never had a similar situation before. The school had to very quickly assess the needs of student-athletes and demands of each sport to develop a comprehensive training programme for every sport to keep them (student-athletes) physically and mentally fit, and help them maintain their form.”

The home-based training programme consists of strength and conditioning, physical training, footwork training, skills training, and mental training. The different training techniques and strategies help student-athletes stay engaged and keeps training programmes interesting for them. Besides sport training, coaches make it a point to stay connected and check-in frequently with student-athletes to ensure that they are coping well.

Sport academies have had a steep learning curve and have been constantly kept on their toes since the first week. Training programmes have been refined after actively seeking feedback from both student-athletes and parents. Also, there have been frequent sharing sessions between sport academies to share experiences and best practices for mutual learning. The extension of the circuit-breaker also added more pressure for sport academies to further enhance training programmes for student-athletes to remain motivated.

The situation has forced sport academies to come up with creative ways of keeping training regime rigorous, yet engaging. In the process, several sport academies have gone back to the basics to share sport knowledge and work on mental skills which are important in an athlete’s game play. For example, the Shooting Academy conducts fun quizzes on competition rules and shooting theory; the swimming academy does race visualisation exercises that help them ‘feel’ the water and overcome pre-competition anxiety; the football academy’s student-athletes team up on a weekly basis to do match analysis; and the individual programme student-athletes were given sport science lessons on injury prevention by National Youth Sports Institute.

Like all athletes, keeping spirits up during this period is not easy for our student-athletes. They typically have an active lifestyle, busy schedule and are among their peers, but have had get used to being cooped up indoors. Secondary 4 footballer Adam Reefdy Muhammad Hasyim shared, “In a team sport like football, we are accustomed to playing alongside team players. It is not easy getting used to training on our own. Also, we are unable to work on many of necessary football skills such as ball possession without other players.” Space and lack of exercise equipment is another issue faced by student-athletes. But as the weeks go by, student-athletes have adapted to the new norm of training at home and have found their rhythm. Some of them even creatively used household items to make up for the lack of equipment.

While home-based training has its challenges, student-athletes are taking home-based training to their stride, and are trying to make the best out of it. 16-year-old swimmer Clydi Chan said, "We get to rest more, which is quite rare for us. It's good to catch up on school work and we are able to do more land-based exercises.” Shooter Edlyn Nadra Mohammed Sophian shared, “Before this circuit breaker, I used to train almost every day, and my body had gotten used to this specific shooting position, making it difficult for me to change it although it had some flaws. Hopefully, after this break, I am able to better my stability by altering my posture after many weeks of rest for my body.”

2019 Southeast Asian Games bronze medallist Maximillian Ang Wei who was set to compete for a spot in the B Division of the Olympic Games has taken the news of the cancellation of the Games as an opportunity for him to further prepare himself for another year before he takes on the best-of-the-best at the international stage. “The current situation is not ideal. But we need to look at the bright side and keep going,” he said. After all, beyond this pandemic, our student-athletes have trophies to vie for and dreams to chase.

Home-based training continues during the ongoing school holidays which was pushed forward to 5 May 2020. The outcomes of home-based training will not be apparent until student-athletes return to school on 2 June 2020. However, sport academies should be celebrated for stepping up to the challenge of rethinking sport training in a digital space, and student-athletes should be appreciated for their efforts to remain resilient and adaptable.