Sport training post lockdown

Athletes are rearing to return to sport after lockdown.

Life is slowly returning to “the new normal” across the globe as nations ease lockdown regulations after the novel coronavirus pandemic. In the sporting world, professionals and weekend warriors alike are raring to go back to training and competition. But while many would have kept training to the best of their abilities through quarantine, this doesn’t mean they’re ready to bounce back. Patience will be key and, despite the excitement (in some cases desperation) to get going, the return to competitive sport will need to be gradual at all levels.

Many athletes, youth and adult, participate in sport not only to maintain health, compete and improve skills, but also to have fun and socialize. From a mental wellbeing aspect, the sooner they return to sport the better given the stressful conditions imposed on all by the lockdown. However, from a physical wellbeing aspect, there are two serious risk factors to consider when returning. Firstly; there is the increased risk of contracting the virus itself. Despite the best intentions and regulations to prevent this, increased interaction with people and equipment will inevitably increase risk of infection. Secondly; there is a very real increased risk of injury after the extended period of reduced physical activity. Despite the best efforts to keep training through the lockdown, most athletes will be less conditioned than they realize, and sudden high intensity training and competition could result in a spike of serious injuries.

Be responsible.

You do not want to contract COVID-19. Getting infected could put you, or people you know or interact with in mortal danger. There is no best-case scenario because even if you contract it and are asymptomatic, not knowing you have it could result in the infection of people around you who are not so lucky. Your health and the health of those around you is more important than any sporting goals you may have. Follow all the regulations and be disciplined. Limit interactions with people by training only in small consistent groups, maintain social distancing wherever possible and avoid making contact.

Don’t expect to start where you left off.

Despite wanting to make up for lost time by giving everything you have from the start your body may not be ready for this. The first step to safely returning to sports participation is understanding the effects of isolation due to lockdown on your physical state. Many athletes will have reduced muscle mass, neuromuscular function, aerobic capacity and may have increased body fat. Youth athletes may have grown substantially during the lockdown period which could result in substantial changes in their strength and fitness. Resume training gradually and build up conditioning slowly. You will be sore and surprised by your performances – give yourself time to get back to where you left off.

Returning to sport post lockdown.

You’ll be back in peak action in no time! We all in this together! You got this!


Amy Bathgate
About the Author
Amy Bathgate is the Operations Manager at VS Sports, playing an integral role in product development, innovation, and design, and heading up a team of enthusiastic analysts working towards transforming the way sport is analyzed, scouted, and experienced. With over a decade of expertise in consulting, biomechanics, and performance analysis across various disciplines and levels, she understands that the little details make a big difference. One of her passions and specialties is swimming, and she assists and drives athletes and coaches to achieve their performance potentials using stroke and race analysis to better their understanding of the complexities of the sport in order to go faster and train and perform more efficiently. Amy is also a Dartfish Certified Instructor, certified in Functional Movement Screening, and a former lecturer at the University of Pretoria.