Important for athletes to stay in shape, says coach

Athletics coach Alroy Dixon encourages athletes to stay in shape and be ready for action when activities resume.

As the country heads towards the end of the third week of the national lockdown, due to the outbreak of coronavirus, coaches across sporting codes have been hard at work, trying to ensure the players keep physically and mentally fit.

In athletics, in particular, the athletes have even more reason to keep in shape during this period, as the sport’s governing body, Athletics South Africa (ASA) has made it clear that all athletes must be ready in case activities resume, in the near future.

And, with this in mind, the Bellville Athletics Club coach and his colleagues are busy doing just that preparing their athletes.

Alroy Dixon said the fact that they have, long before the outbreak of the virus, always tried to be innovative in the way they do things, made it a little easier for them to try and navigate their way around the situation we find ourselves in right now.

Dixon, who specialises in hurdles, sprints and long jump, comes in with lots of knowledge and experience, having obtained his International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Level 2 qualification in 2017. And, as a result, it is not really surprising that he is a firm believer in modern training methods. He says they’re always on the lookout for new things they could use to improve their players.

“Our athletes are busy. We’ve been preparing for the SA championships, the Olympic Games and the world championships and that means we are using a lot of video training methods, so that we can be better prepared, under the circumstances,” he said.

Dixon was also quick to note that the transition to full-time video training methods was not really a challenge for them.

This, he said, was because they had been doing video analyses for years. “The advantage of the situation we have found ourselves in right now, where training is completely technology-based, is that players have more time to recover from training.

“Before that, they had to travel to the track for training, and that takes time. So, this method is more convenient,” he said.

He said the challenge was to keep the players going and, fortunately, they responded well and showed discipline.

“The guys are positive and are following the programme properly. That is good because all of us in the sporting front, not just in athletics, need to be positive,” he said.