writing by Linus Ihebirinachi
My Sky subscription was mainly for sports’ and news. But since the lock down and ban on sport events, especially since football was annulled, watching Sky TV for me became an uninteresting agenda. I could not watch live-matches, only registered ones. Football lovers will understand this frustration. Many sports’ and fitness people will feel my pains! My friends call me from time to time, we share our frustrations, though thanking God we are still alive and safe. We are, yes, but we need some more!
FOOTBALL IS BACK!
Today, I was able to watch a live competitive match again! Football is back! The Bundesliga competition restarted today, though with so many restrictions and on closed doors. Half bread is better than none anyway. You know life is more important, the fans’ safety is being put under considerations. Restarting of football today is a sign of relieve, not just for only sports’ and football lovers, but also for the public. The trauma of this Pandemic, Covid-19 has really eaten down on the public bone marrow. We need to restart again, learning how to live with the virus. Some offices are being opened. People are now free to go out but with so many restrictions and cautions. It will never be a normal life – no life as usual. But it is a sign of light after the dark tunnel. We must keep faith and go gradually. Slow and steady wins the race! We must be extremely cautious, but grateful that life is coming back. We all have hope that the storm will soon be over!
IN PREPARATION FOR THE RESTART OF SPORTS
There is no doubt that the world has missed the joy of watching sports’ events. It has been so strange going through months of no activities as regards to sports’. But the most important part to also consider is the athletes that participate in these sports’. What are their mental states and physical conditions since this case of covid-19 pandemic? Most of them surely have lost form, and some of them must have dropped their nutritional plans. These people are humans after all. The question is how are they going to come back strong after the lifting of the bans? There are risks of injuries to individual athletes if care is not taken. We are after watching our darling teams perform again, even at closed doors, we still want to see them win! Now the athletes’ health and physical fitness must be the priority, not just results of games. Enabling athletes to get match-fit is an important towards restarting competitive sport even behind closed doors. In what should consist of their preparations? I would like to discuss few areas of considerations for preparations towards the restart of sports’ events.
1. CONSIDERATION OF ATHLETE’S SAFETY
Lifting the ban on sports’ have been one of the major discussions going on behind the scene since the medical experts are reporting declension in the level of the corona virus spread. Since some countries have already agreed to lift the ban, questions are arising about the safety of the athlete. Watching the strangest football match in the just restarted Bundesliga between Dortmund FC and Schalke FC got me thinking about the safety of the footballers. It was strange to see the game where players are observing social distancing even in the football field. There were limitations in goal celebrations, and even the reserve players on the bench keep so far distance. This might be great in trying to protect the players, but what should matter also is that these players have contacts doing games! Maybe some athletes would have chosen not to come back because it takes only one injection to spread throughout the sports’ industry again. Athletes should return only if they felt it was safe to do so.
I watched an interview where a Chelsea player, Tammy Abraham was asked about his take on the restart. With the player’s response, one could denote the difficulties these players may face psychologically. As a young man, Tammy is still staying with his parents, and his dad is asthmatic. What happens if he contacts this disease and brings it home? It could be so dangerous to the sick father! Though we all understand that these players are under contracts with their various clubs, life is more valuable than contracts. So, if players still feel unsafe could they be allowed to stay off games?
2. PHYSICAL DRILLING
Majority of the athletes must have been under personal indoor fitness training. It might not be enough because of the lack of competitions; they might not have been as serious as they could be during the competitive period. There must be serious period of training before going back to the real competition. Athletes should know that their body needs regular physical activity to maintain that same strength, stamina, cardiovascular health, needed for performance. Their physical fitness must be evaluated and given a go-ahead to participate. Team doctors know this anyway, but what happens if the time drill the players and get them to at least 80% fitness is so short? Watching the games already played shows they are way off fitness. They must be placed on regular dietary plans and constant fitness exercises to get to back to form.
3. PSYCHOLOGICAL PREPARATIONS
Do we just have to talk about skills and physical fitness before the restart of the sport events? Sports and fitness activities are not just physical training but also has to do with mental state too. That is why physical fitness instructors or athletes and football teams have psychologists around them. The mind needs to be prepared and drilled too before any competition. One wonders why some athletes fail out of lack of concentrations. It means they do not fail out of lack of skills and energy. So, the mind needs activity to stay sharp and balanced. Therefore, before the restart of sports’, athletes need to be worked up psychologically. Psychological considerations, therefore, do not just mean coaching and skill acquisitions. It goes beyond teaching fundamental skills.
Professional athletes have learned the basic skills of the game, what they must do after this period of lock down is to learn to apply some techniques that will help them to manage their shortage in physical form in other to optimize their performances. Let us not forget as well that there many have been so many distractions during this period, and there will also be many distractions to be encountered because of the unique circumstances of most sport events
4. NUTRITIONAL PREPARATIONS
Another aspect that must never be neglected is the health and nutritional sections. There must be a way of keeping the athletes inform and ready for the restart without much stress. Physical health state is particularly important. They must be health cautious, not just their own alone for those of others. Sports and athletes should follow the public health regulations issued by their local jurisdiction. On the personal basis, the athletes should already be aware that to train very well, they need calories, energy nutrients, and liquids to get physically prepared and ready to complete an athletic competition. The dietary plans show be controlled, and more energy foods and supplements should be added get enough energy they need to perform. At least 70% calories from carbohydrate foods like bread, rice, pasta, and some vegetables, such as potatoes should be considered more this period. There is also need for constant dehydration during drilling. During this period of restart, athletes should observe periodic circle of training and recovery for them to optimize their abilities for optimal performance. Protein foods are as necessary too. It should not be neglected. At least 1.2 to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight a day (150 grams of protein for a 200-pound athlete) during this preparatory period will be ultimate. Eating organic sources like such as lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts, beans, eggs, or milk will be so wonderful for adding protein.
A Look at Concise Dietary Plan:
A. Healthy Breakfast: athletes and fitness people preparing to take off the on a higher gear should consider a breakfast high in fibers and nutrients, than one full of refined grains, sugar, salt. You might consider taking orange juice, banana, yogurt, pancake. It is preferably considering 5 grams of organic fiber food and 10 grams of protein will be wonderful for muscular repair in every breakfast. They should balance it with sustainable amount of carbohydrate from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables a little healthier fat. Garnish it with some bells pepper for minerals and vitamin C, one might consider taking food with protein 28g, 160 calories, fat 2g and 42g of carbohydrate.
During the exercise, if it is an enduring exercise, one may include a periodic eating of snacks like energy drink, a fresh fruit or fruit smoothie, a whole-grain bagel or crackers, a peanut butter sandwich, a sports’ drink or diluted juice.
B. Healthy Lunch: after the drilling exercises, one would love to repair some dead cells and strengthens the muscles. It will be wonderful to eat healthier after some strenuous exercises, given the fact that the period of recovery is so short before the main competitions. Thus, the nutrients must mainly base on carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Consuming a good quantity of carb will add glycogen which helps in optimizing energy during exercise and replenish them after the training. At lunch, 0.5–0.7 grams of carbs per pound (1.1–1.5 grams/kg) of body weight is advisable. Dietary plans for lunch should be taken from these sources: Sweet potatoes, rice, fruits, pasta, and dark, leafy green vegetables.
A sizable amount of protein will refresh the body with amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild the already lost proteins while helping to build new muscular tissues. Athletes should consider 0.14–0.23 grams of protein per pound of body weight (0.3–0.5 grams/kg) for lunch. The protein sources should include the following: eggs, tuna or chicken, salmon, cottage cheese and yogurts.
Healthy fats are also advised, but small portion. Mixing the diet with dried fruits and nuts, avocado or butter nuts will be wonderful for a good lunch for athletes and fitness people.
C. Good Dinner: the question is, at this point, should athletes be eating a rich dinner? Many nutritionists will agree that dinner is the final chance of the day to recover from training and to prep muscles for tomorrow’s adventure. Skipping dinner might not be the best idea for a busy athlete or fitness person. Some football players do light drills during the evening time. A replenishing dinner with light nutrients will be ultimate dinner for them. An adequate amount of prepared with vegetables and little amount of carbohydrates should be so essential part of the dinner menu. The body needs omega-3 fatty acid to promote healthy hearts and blood circulations, and fish is a great source of omega-3. Taking omega-3 capsules after dinner will be a wonderful idea for athletes. In addition to fish and vegetables, small portion from these sources: bread, pasta, tortilla, bagel, and rice will be wonderful too.
Good dietary plan is so wonderful for the athletes in the restarting of the competitive games after covid-19, for adequate preparations, avoiding injuries and towards having optimal performances.