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Chris takes a balanced approach to ‘Winter Break’

Ensuring that the squad stay fit during time away from training ground

30 March 2020

AFC Wimbledon Sports Scientist Chris McConnell has been overseeing the fitness of our first-team squad during this period of no football matches by using an app called Strava.

However, Chris has been mindful of the circumstances during these unprecedented times for everyone, due to Coronavirus.

Chris sums up his approach below:

The outbreak of COVID-19 has led to an unparalleled set of circumstances for governments, businesses and professional sport, but what have the players been doing during the fixture suspension period?

Firstly, the importance of their health and well-being has taken centre stage. Although the players are under constant pressure to be fit and perform in-season, it’s been important that they haven’t been put into a position that jeopardises themselves, their families and the general public. So we have followed the government guidelines regarding social distancing, limiting physical contact outside of their family homes, and getting creative with the type of physical work they can do to maintain their foundations of fitness, while at home. They’ve been sent nutritional guidelines around what foods and supplements to have to maintain their health and optimise their immune system, but also to account for their reduced training schedule to help maintain muscle size and physical capacity.

Government protocol updates and the uncertainty around the climax of the season means the players are now working through the third update of the programme we had set them. Generally, the sessions have consisted of a reduced training schedule, which I’ve been monitoring on a tracking app, and some bodyweight strength sessions. The latest updates have also included a period of rest and inactivity, since training has been pushed further back (14 April), as well as games (30 April). The situation is now being treated as a delayed “Winter Break”.  It’s a short period of rest and recovery to recharge mentally and physically from a 39-week season, followed by a plan similar to what they are given in the off-season. I’m sure the latest batch of plans I’ve sent won’t be the last!

Of course, there have been some individual plans as a blanket approach doesn’t fit for everybody’s requirements. For example, Kwesi Appiah and Adam Roscrow were returning to a good level of fitness, so it was important to maintain their schedules as best as we could in the current situation. Also, Will Nightingale was given the all-clear two days prior to the break and this now gives him a very good opportunity to be ready for selection within the current time frame. He is progressing as planned.

In case you missed it, Glyn provided an update on how he has been staying busy during this period of no football matches.

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