Online Coaching Courses: India’s Top Athletes Connect From Home

“What does your body look like, a Mercedes or a Ferrari? asks Ryan Fernando, a nutritionist who works with some of India’s top athletes, as he begins a workshop like he’s never had before.

Instead of sitting down with his athletes to determine their specific nutritional needs, Fernando reaches out to them via Facebook. “As an athlete, if you think your body is a high-end dream vehicle, you have to put the right fuel in it to make it work,” he says, and goes on to detail how to increase. immunity levels and how to preserve muscle. strength at home during the confinement period.

The advice includes the consumption of “beets, green peas and arugula leaves, as they help in vasodilation, which means the widening of blood vessels. As the pipeline widens, you can send more blood to the muscles, more O2, water, vitamins… and you can remove more lactic acid.

For Fernando, the biggest concern is how to prevent athletes from gaining weight; Working out at home just can’t match the rigors of boot camp, but the body gets used to a certain amount of calories and needs them.

“Do a fast in confinement. Get up, grab a cup of coffee and do an intense workout,” he says. “Skip breakfast and eat lunch.” Foods to burn fat? Cinnamon, lemon, moringa, black coffee.

Fernando, who has worked with the likes of two-time Olympic medalist Sushil Kumar, is among several specialists – top coaches, physiotherapists and mental conditioning experts who run livestream sessions for the Sports Authority of India. (SAI) to help athletes manage this unprecedented situation. challenge of maintaining their fitness levels at home, with no high-end workout facilities available to them.

Social media platforms and WhatsApp were things coaches urged their trainees to avoid lest they waste their precious time and lose focus. Now, going online is the only way to help elite athletes maintain their fitness.

The best Indian boxers have their “Online Pathsala”. Santiago Nieva, the high performance director for the men’s team, and Raffaele Bergamasco, the head coach of the women’s team, have prepared a detailed schedule for the nine boxers who qualified for the Olympics, as well as for those hoping to make it to future trials for categories where India has yet to seal a place. Boxers will have to film their workouts and upload them to a WhatsApp group. The coaching staff will then analyze the videos and offer their input, or adapt the sessions.

Similar courses are also given to almost 300 junior and junior boxers.

“I use the stairs for different endurance exercises, side jumps, single leg jumps,” says Kavinder Bisht, silver medalist at the 2019 Asian Boxing Championships. “Also a lot of weight exercises body and shadow boxing. The important thing is that I am in constant contact with the coaches and try to maintain a routine.

Physiotherapist Nikhil Latey, who worked with Mary Kom when she won her bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics, issues a warning to athletes in his online session, “Training in times of coronavirus”.

“Assuming the lockdown is extended to two months, you will be at 40-45% of your maximum capacity (on return to full training) and it will take you two months to reach match fitness. If you push yourself at this time, there will be a risk of injury. There is no major competition schedule for the next few months so you have the time, don’t be afraid and be in a hurry,” Latey said.

Latey shares tips on how to do bodyweight training and fitness and flexibility exercises at home using resistance bands, the only equipment he expects athletes to have. the House.

“Make sure you maintain discipline and do morning and evening sessions for at least an hour and a half each. Remember, this is off-season training, not a vacation,” he says.

David John, High Performance Director of Hockey India, sets an interesting mission for his athletes via Facebook.

“There are seven attributes of physical fitness: cardiovascular endurance, speed, agility, muscular strength, muscular power, muscular endurance and flexibility. Identify and rank which qualities are most important for my sport and my activity,” he says.

“In some sports only some of these qualities are needed, while in other sports you need a fuller range. If you are a sprinter, speed, power and flexibility are most important, while agility and CV stamina are not as important,” he says.

John says many athletes, without supervision, end up wasting their time on exercises that don’t improve their sport-specific fitness.

They should devote time to the physical qualities that can really make a difference in their sport. It is the most important.

Dr Kartik Doshi, head of the Abhinav Bindra Targeting Performance Center in Bhubaneswar, says the technology has been of immense help during the lockdown.

“You need a program and serious athletes will follow,” he says. “We also plan to launch teleconsultation with all ABTP centers.”

As coaches have stepped up their efforts using the digital platform, athletes are finding innovative ways to implement them. From rooftops to balconies to porches, they use limited space wisely, and from stools to trash cans, they improvise when it comes to equipment.

Amit Panghal, the first Indian boxer to win a silver medal at the 2019 World Championships, doesn’t have a rope ladder to do his footwork drills on, so he painted one in his garage.

“Innovation is key because there is no access to the gym and weights,” says golfer Chiragh Kumar, winner of the Asian Tour and Asian Games silver medalist.

“I place a stool in the driveway and do three sets of 10 to 15 jumps for power,” he says. “The trash can nearby is high and I often jump over it too. Since the aisle leaves room, I do 20-meter sprints, shuttle runs, jumping jacks, and jogs in place. For squats and lunges I carry my daughter Aynaz on my shoulders.

Chirag then uploads these videos to Twitter or Instagram and challenges his golfing friends to make them. “It’s also a way to break boredom.”

(Contributions by Avishek Roy, Robin Bose, Sandip Sikdar)

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