By Sean Devers
As the world copes with the unprecedented and continuously evolving threat of the Coronavirus athletes world-wide have faced training and competition disruptions that would undoubtedly play a role on performance.
Guyana Jaguars’ Sport Physiotherapist and Performance Enhancement Specialist Neil Barry Jnr has some important advice for those athletes who are affected by the suspension of all Sports due to the pandemic which has claimed two and infected 12 others who were tested in Guyana.
The 27-year-old Barry urged local sports persons to take COVID-19 seriously and to observe the guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“Keep in mind the guidelines for you are no different to rest of the world. As an athlete you are likely a role model in your community so the example you set can influence others and play a major role in the outcome of this situation. So keep your distance and wash your hands,” stressed Barry.
“You are not just protecting yourself but doing your part in protecting your Community. The great Challenge with this illness is not so much treatment of the virus but rather the rapid rate of spreading, especially by those who do not show symptoms,” informed Barry.
“Sleep is in some ways the human superpower. It plays an important role in physical health, pain management and in maintaining a healthy immune system. Additionally, at this time, athletes and all persons should continue to focus on nutrition.
There is a focus on vitamin ‘C’, you should be aware that too much can cause health problems, so stick to daily recommended doses which is up to 500mg. A serving of citrus and other fruits each day should provide enough vitamin ‘C’,” said the former Queens College and University of Guyana student.
Barry encouraged athletes to take care of their aerobic system.
“Evidence shows that training your aerobic system at least once a week helps to maintain your level of fitness. As an athlete, now would be a good time to focus on getting in those long runs you may or may not enjoy.
Public training facilities in your area should be closed at this period to limit public gatherings but running 4-5 miles a few days a week can have several benefits beyond giving you a sound aerobic base, such as helping to keep a strong immune system, building focus, self-discipline and other key traits to athletic success,” Barry stressed.
Barry, the son of former Guyana First-Class batsmen Neil Barry, advised the athletes to ‘self-train’.
“Several Countries have closed Gyms since keeping public gatherings to a minimum slows the spread of the virus. But this does not have to end your strength training.
There are hundreds of exercises out there (many of them can be found on YouTube) to safely build strength using just your own bodyweight or minimal equipment,” explained Barry, who was appointed Physio of the West Indies B team when they faced Canada in 3 T20’s and two ODIs in Sept 2018.
The Jaguars Trainer is no stranger to cricket since he was a decent pacer for Malteenoes before he give-up the game to embark on a career in physiotherapy and it was in this capacity that he first toured with the Guyana team two years ago.
Barry said now would be a good time for athletes to bring out their resistance bands and other portable exercise tools and also set simple targets like doing 100 push-ups and 500 abdominals per day.
The fitness trainer advised to minimise training groups and to observe the three-feet or more rule. If you do not need to do technical work, then keep your training groups to five or less.
“Coaches could be at a higher risk of having a more significant reaction to the illness so do not be selfish…keep your distance,” Barry cautioned.
Barry informed that where weight training is essential, sanitize before use and suggested they utilise the additional time away from their Sport to learn about their game and for other facets of training.
“For a cricketer or Footballer this could mean spending time reviewing footage or practicing a new drill. Take time to focus on aspects of training you might have not had the time to work on before.
Different variations of the bodyweight plank and the Bodyweight bridge are excellent tools to prevent injury and enhance performance by strengthening the glute, inner thigh and hips. A simple YouTube search can reveal a lot of safe demonstrations of those exercise,” Barry concluded.
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