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Staying physically fit

With local schools, gyms and fitness centers shut down, many are looking for tips for the best workouts at home

April 10, 2020
By CJ HADDAD (cjhaddad@breezenewspapers.com) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

While sports at nearly every level around the country have been put on hold, athletes can still stay focused on their next endeavor by staying fit at home.

With gyms closed and gatherings of teams or players disallowed, athletes need to get innovative to remain in top condition and ready when play does resume.

This obstacle also applies to those who do not play a sport, but simply have an active lifestyle.

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Cycling is one way to work on staying fit while practicing social distancing.

City of Cape Coral Parks and Recreation Marketing Director Michelle Dean provided some tips to residents for safe recreational activity during this restricted activity period.

She advised resident to walk, run or jog around their neighborhood at a socially safe distance, explore Cape Coral's 90-plus miles of interconnected bicycle routes, fish in canals and local waterways or go boating, kayaking or canoeing (all boat ramps are still open in the city).

Dean said the department might have an innovative way for residents to get active in the near future.

"Staff is working on plans to host a community-wide virtual 5K at the end of April," she said.

Student-athletes

Student-athletes around the county have been deprived of a spring sports season due to COVID-19. Countless seniors around the country are missing out on their senior season in their spring sport. The Florida High School Athletic Association, in a March 31 press release, stated that it is "actively working on creative solutions for the continuance of spring sports, which could extend through June 30."

"The FHSAA does understand the hardships caused by COVID-19 and the inability to play spring sports," the release continued. "If we are not able to continue spring sports, the FHSAA is working diligently to create a plan regarding additional eligibility for students who have not been able to participate in spring sports."

Cape Coral High School football head coach Dale More has been in contact with his players about the upcoming season, providing them with things they can do at home to stay fit, but promoting their health and education first and foremost.

"For us, the kids and their health and safety is our number one priority. The second focus of our program right now is their grades," More said. "For activity, with the blessing of the county, we have a Google classroom that I set up for football."

More and his staff are providing student-athletes with videos from a strength and conditioning coach.

"And it's all at-home stuff," More said.

There are two sets of videos, one for a workout without weights and one for those who do have access to them.

"They just go the path they have access to," More said. "I told them these are individual workouts. They're not meant to do with your friends. If you don't have weights and (your friend) does, that doesn't mean go to their house. Do the body weight workout; it's just as good, maybe better."

Every day and each week, they'll have new videos to emulate for the student-athletes to get ready for the fall football season.

"We're just trying to keep some kind of togetherness during this time," More said. "All I can do is continue to give them opportunity. We're just trying to keep the energy up."

Former Cape Coral High School quarterback Colin Saring also offered student-athletes tips on what they can do and the mindset they should have during this time to stay at the top of their game.

"It's more than important, it's crucial," Saring said of players keeping up with their conditioning currently. "Athletes have a choice right now; to complain and be negative about the situation, or look at it in a positive light and make the best of the circumstances. Every day is an opportunity to better yourself in some way, and when this crazy time is over, it's so important that athletes are 'game ready' and don't miss a beat trying to get in shape again. And always remember, when you're not working to get better, your competition is."

Saring, who recently suited up professionally for the Gulf Coast Fire, a local team, now mentors young quarterbacks under the brand "Dime Club QB Training with The QB Guru."

He's worked with many local athletes, was a coach at Oasis High School last season and played at the college level. Saring knows how staying at the top of your game is vital, no matter the circumstance.

"Take advantage of the time you have and apply yourself in some form every single day," Saring said. "If it's a day off from training, research and study the professionals of your sport and see what they do to get to the highest level. Be as active as possible. Reach out to your coaches, they should have workout plans for your specific sport ready to give you. Use YouTube and find workouts that best fit your sport. The one piece of workout equipment that I highly recommend that any athlete can use for any sport that will help improve stamina, footwork and cardio would be the jump rope! Every athlete should be able to jump rope and it's an affordable and easy way to stay in shape and improve your quickness."

His program is no longer holding in-person training, but is still offering virtual sessions.

"We cover various aspects of the quarterback position; character and leadership building, defensive coverages and cues, offensive concepts and insight, and an overall understanding of the mental aspect -- the most important aspect -- to being a QB," Saring said. "As well as instruction on various drills they can do at home, I've also been blessed to be mentored by NFL Hall of Fame and Super Bowl Champion QB Kurt Warner, so passing on his knowledge has been amazing."

Advice from the pros

Ron Wolforth, founder and CEO of Texas Baseball Ranch in Montgomery, Texas, is a long-time pitching trainer who's been a consultant for numerous Major League Baseball organizations and NCAA baseball programs.

Wolforth offered some advice for athletes to continue to build on their body and craft while adhering to regulations.

"If you don't use it, you will lose it," Wolford said. "That is 100 percent true. If you take a week off, it will take you two weeks to get back to ground zero."

For baseball players, there are many exercises one can do to keep their arm healthy.

"Using tools such as a throwing sock, a throwing club, wrist weights or a hand speed trainer, can be of great assistance, or a bridge in keeping your arm and shoulder healthy and durable," he said. "Throwing to a screen in fairly closed quarters is a great short-term substitute for throwing outside."

For pitchers especially, Walforth said this is a great time to perfect every aspect of your game.

"Take this extra time as a true blessing and really work extra on the areas you as a pitcher may be lacking," he said.

Those areas include: health and durability, mobility and flexibility, strength and stability, structural alignment and strength balance, mechanical efficiency, recovery, conditioning, consistency, velocity enhancement, command of pitches, pitch sequencing, pick-offs, mindset and your tactical approach.

"Watch an inning replay of an elite pitcher attacking hitters, such as (Gerrit) Cole, (Justin) Verlander, (Max) Scherzer, (Jake) DeGrom, (Clayton) Kershaw -- really dissect their plan of attack and his execution. Then you throw a simulated inning to the same hitters using the sock, club or throwing into a net or pad 15 to 20 feet away."

- Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj

 
 
 

 

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