One of the many fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic is that the sports world has come to a standstill.
Pro leagues around the world have halted games and events, while the IOC announced Tuesday that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been postponed until 2021.
Training camps and practice sessions have stopped, too, which means athletes from different sports face challenges in terms of staying physically fit and being ready to go again when this period of self-isolation and social distancing ends.
The Canadian Premier League is no different, as it postponed the start of the 2020 regular season, scheduled to commence on April 11, 2020. The league also imposed a training moratorium until March 27, leaving players to work out on their own.
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What does the league’s individual training policy entail, exactly? Here’s a brief guideline:
• No group activities.
• No technical coaches present.
• Individual activities only with recognized schedule put in place.
• Club physical preparation staff will supply individual player conditioning programs via online/e-mail communication which may be conducted in their homes or in controlled environments – not in public gyms.
• If supervision is required it should only be conducted within a safe distance of six feet between individuals as per COVID-19 protocol with only one player present.
• Strict COVID-19 protocols should be in effect related to workspaces and all environments at all times.
• Medical treatment should only take place if truly required based on pre-existing injuries, and to be conducted one player at a time and with COVID-19 protocols being respected at all times.
These are unprecedented times and Michael Findlay, the CPL’s Director of Football Development, explained that’s why “it is essential as members of the global game we think globally but we act locally.” It’s also why the league is working together with its teams on the training protocol to ensure that all of the efforts that players already put into pre-season won’t be completely undone.
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“The Canadian Premier League continues to guide its clubs in these challenging times, and in support of this leadership it has undertaken a process to provide guidance to the clubs and players as they adhere to self-isolation requirements and follow the league policy regarding best practices pertaining to the fight against COVID-19 and the overall health and safety of the players and staff,” Findlay told CanPL.ca.
“With the suspension of our pre-season, we discussed with our clubs the most efficient manner for the players to continue their pre-season programming, with their health and safety at the forefront of our focus. It is with this in mind (that) we have set guidelines for all clubs individual training programs. This will provide an opportunity for the clubs staff and players to safely continue their preparation for the 2020 Canadian Premier League season.”
Atlético Ottawa is currently in self-isolation after returning from Madrid where they spent the first part of their pre-season training camp. Ben Fisk and his teammates are back in Ottawa now where part of their daily routine is training on WhatsApp every morning.
“Our strength and conditioning coach will send the video of him doing the exercises, and you have at it,” Fisk told CanPL.ca.
York9 FC spent the first portion of its pre-season training camp in Florida before it came home due to the pandemic. Upon returning to Canada on March 14, Y9’s players entered a 14-day isolation period while also trying to maintain their fitness.
“They’ve got individual programs that they can do at home to keep them ticking over,” coach Jim Brennan told CanPL.ca. “We can’t get together, we can’t train. But we try to give them a program that they can do at their house to keep them active.”
To a certain degree, it falls on each individual Y9 player and what they have on hand to stay in shape.
“Some of us have treadmills – I have a bike – so we work on our cardio,” Y9 rookie Max Ferrari told CanPL.ca. “I stay downstairs in the basement, I have a whole setup with weights and everything, but if you don’t have that stuff we have all bodyweight [training exercises].
“Just try to keep your cardio up as much as you can. Obviously, if you have the room, get your touches in. Just stay fit is basically the goal right now.”
A lot of CPL players have got into the spirit of training on their own during self-isolation, posting videos on their social media accounts. Forge FC forward Chris Nanco even posted a video of his home workout that fans can try.
HFX Wanderers FC goalkeeper Jason Beaulieu got in on the action as well, showing how he’s been working out at home in Halifax.