What has lockdown taught us about training?
The End of the World
Back in March 2020 the whole of the UK was plunged into chaos and the unknown, with an enforced lockdown due to COVID-19. This meant all sport came to a complete stop, right from the professional game all the way down to grassroots sport. Something we had never seen before!
Of course alongside the fact games could not take place, training became subject to an enforced stop. Straight away this got us a little bit worried, because whenever you stop practicing the skills you have developed can detoriate quickly. This is a nightmare, especially when all the players we have been working with have put so much effort in to reaching their full potential.
As a company who specialises in private training, we were worrying about our players, how are we going to get them training and keep them up to standard. What were the implications of this lockdown? What are the long term effects going to be? The questions were endless!!
How did people respond?
To be honest the response we saw to this situation was mega! Scrolling through our social media of all the football teams, other similar business and different individuals, the level of idea we saw was amazing. It really is true in which people will adapt to situations, and adapting quickly was needed in the wake of COVID-19.
Throughout this period, we saw people putting on live sessions for anyone to join, we saw people carrying on 1-2-1 or team coaching sessions via zoom, we saw people helping others in other ways such as podcasts. The list of ideas could go on forever.
The Power of Adaptation
Obviously throughout this whole situation, there was one major overarching factor and this was people were confine to their homes, resulting in individuals having varying degrees of space available. This is where the challenge came, catering for all sorts of space, from people training in their garden with goals, to people training in their front room.
We saw people using all sorts to make sure they could train, replacing cones with slippers or shoes. Using a wall to receive passes off, using small targets as goals. The way people adapted was massive.
There was also a big change in the type of coaching which was being demonstrated as a lot more relied on the close control side of things, with a heavy focus on players learning skills, and isolating techniques such as receiving the ball. Yes this type of coaching had it’s doubters, and in all honesty we found it tough but the main thing it kept our players training and actually the ones who continued training with us throughout you could tell the difference.
How did it affect players?
Upon the return to training we did notice players had lost some of their technique and skills, but this is expected due to the nature of having an extended period of time away from the pitch. This lead to a lot of frustration, especially in our younger players because they wanted to do things in which they could do pre-lockdown but it just was not happening for them.
One thing we did notice though was the desire for players to want to improve and the level of hunger was the highest we had ever seen. The time off had meant players come back with some fire in their belly, wanting to be the best player they possibly could.
Did the online training help?
As much as the doubters stated this was not beneficial and not useful for players we would like to disagree. This is because the players who had been continually training, we noticed a massive increase in their on the ball ability especially in the tight spaces. This means all the ball manipulation work had worked, with players taking on the coaching and putting into practice.
We have learnt so many lessons from this period of time, which we will take into our coaching and further. The first is the ability of players to adapt to different situations and their willingness to do so. This means in our sessions on the field we will be willing to try new ideas, as we expect players will pick them up quickly and give them a shot.
The second lesson we learnt was equipment is not always a necessity. Yes it is great to have all the equipment and fancy gadgets, but really you do not need them all the time. From this, we have learnt to sometimes just take things back to basic, a player and a ball. You don’t play football with cones, and etc so why use them all the time?
Another major lesson we learnt was in relation to space available. For 3 months we carried out training in a 5 x 5 space and it was effective. For us now we realise how much can be done in a small space. This means when we are out on the pitch we will be as effective as possible with our space, using all the areas we have and making sure we focus on specific areas for development.
These are a couple of the lessons we have taken from this whole situation and I am sure overtime we will learn many more. However we would love to hear your thoughts on what training in lockdown has taught you. Let us know in the comments.
We will never take the time on the pitch for granted again, making the most of every opportunity we have to coach players on the football pitch. We have also taken a lot from this period in which over the coming months we will put into our coaching sessions, to help ensure we take our sessions to the next level. We are extremely excited to get back to the pitch, and cannot wait to get back balling.
We would love to hear your comments and thoughts on this topic.
JCR Sports Coaching
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