As we begin to see more events cancelled or postponed as the ongoing COVID-19 crisis shows no signs of slowing down, questions for athletes across the world have started to pop-up – how do you stay in competition form without access to your regular training facilities?
We’ve seen some that have been able to take a unique approach to staying in shape – football players have been given home routines in which they’re able to practice, we’re seeing F1 stars turn to virtual racing options to keep them sharp as they wait out the lockdowns – but hockey players are finding themselves limited more than most. Many currently scheduled games have been cancelled or postponed until mid-April, there is a likelihood that this extension could go on for much longer than that.
Hockey players find themselves in a much harder situation – as they’re unable to get to the rinks to get practice in, we already find some are saying they’re having a hard time and feeling lost as they’re unable to get to practice – and as such, outside of eating right and trying to stay in good body shape, practice just isn’t open to them.
And this will start to raise the question – if things change rather quickly and games can be continued in a relatively short time period, what sort of playing shape will the athletes be in?
Event organisers will be trying to get games rescheduled as fast as possible in an attempt to recover the losses with the extended lockdown – there are many others that will want things to get underway too, the betting companies that rely on sporting events are now relying on a lot of casinos not on gamstop to cover their losses, hotels and restaurants will welcome the increased foot traffic and the stadiums will want to be packed again.
With such a hurry to get things underway from so many outside forces, however, it may not give the players themselves an opportunity to return to the form they want to be in.
It’s safe to say that they’d all welcome a quick return to the ice, but that may come with a few setbacks – without the option to get a good amount of practice time in, we may see periods of time where players suffer increased injuries as they play out of shape, some big upsets in games as stars have yet to have the opportunity to return to form, and even for us fans, big delays in what would be regularly scheduled games.
As it stands, the Elite League has been cancelled as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, which means the off season has become less of a concern to an extended amount of downtime, but as mentioned earlier there is still of course the possibility that this could go on for another few weeks causing extended delays.
There will be a lot of effort on the part of teams to keep their athletes in the best shape possible, but we may see some teething issues once things get underway again.