Coach Larsen turns to WhatsApp to keep his player going through SA's 21-day lockdown

Larsen will be using the players’ WhatsApp group to add further sessions and to monitor that the players are doing that they are supposed to.
Larsen will be using the players’ WhatsApp group to add further sessions and to monitor that the players are doing that they are supposed to.
Image: Philip Maeta

Polokwane City coach Clinton Larsen will be relying on technology‚ on top of a personal touch‚ to keep his beleaguered squad going through the country's 21-day lockdown.

The squad and their coaching staff were meeting on Wednesday for the last time before all headed off to their respective homes after the national lockdown ordered for the next three weeks by President Cyril Ramaphosa to try and contain the spread of the coronavirus.

“We have handed out the personal training programmes for all the players and taken their weight and fat percentage measurements‚” explained Larsen‚ who now has to rely on the player’s self-discipline to keep them fit over the next 21 days.

Larsen will be using the players’ WhatsApp group to add further sessions and to monitor that the players are doing that they are supposed to.

“We will retest them again when we reopen‚ hopefully in 21 days‚ to see where they are compared to where they are now.

“Players all have smart phones and other devises to measure their training‚ so we’ll get them to upload all of that‚” he explained.

“We’ll be following all the readings.”

The coach will also be in constant contact with his players.

“I will be constantly on the phone with them‚ reminding them of the importance of what they need to do in order to return to the pitch at decent level.

“I know from past experience‚ there are always 10-15 percent of the players who aren’t as professional as the others and it is always a challenge.

“Hopefully they see and understand the importance‚ especially given that we are near the bottom of the log‚” added Larsen.

“Players really need to be professional about this entire situation and put in the hard work while they are at home.

“They have also got to be creative.

“The exercises we have given them are exercises they can do around their home using their body weight‚ or if they have stairs at home‚ a patch of grass or a driveway.

“We’ve given them different options in terms of what space they’ve got at home.

But Larsen warns there is no way players will be able to keep up their current levels of fitness‚ given they will be restricted to their homes.

“I reckon it will take at least three weeks after we come back to get the players back up to full match fitness.

“To go into a 90-minute game a week after players not having played for a long while or trained properly‚ is a big ask for any player.

“I don’t think we’d be able to play straight away once this crisis is over.

“If they (the league) are being fair to the players‚ and they want a good product‚ I think we would need at least three weeks to get everyone back up to speed‚ prior to us returning to the field.”

Larsen said if needs be‚ he would not have a problem with playing the last six games of the season over a three week period.

“I don’t see an issue in playing two games a week and getting it over in three weeks.”

Polokwane City are among the clubs facing the prospect of relegation at the end of the season‚ sitting just above the relegation zone on goal difference only.


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