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Academy Southland Supporting Athletes During Covid-19 Isolation

Academy Southland is continuing to support its athletes through the Covid-19 isolation period.

Programme manager Jason McKenzie said the use of technology was making it easier to retain a sense of normalcy through uncertain times.

Seminars and one-on-one sessions would still be conducted through Skype and Zoom, while strength and conditioning coach Tyson Huia had created home workout plans for athletes and was developing an online community.

The selection process for the two-year Coach Performance programme will also continue.

While most athletes have had their events cancelled for the immediate future, McKenzie said it was important to create some sort of structure, something which was just as vital for the public, including those working from home, or children now staying at home from school.

“This is about keeping those rituals and routines and the planned development of our athletes,” McKenzie said.

“We realise the importance of those rituals and routines for human beings, let alone athletes. We have been sitting in seminars when the news comes through that events have been cancelled. These are events which some of our athletes have been working towards for a long time.”

That disappointment was a natural feeling, something akin to the grief process which affects anyone suffering significant loss.

Many people will be feeling the same anxiety as the nation prepares to go into a four-week isolation period.

“There’s a grief process that needs to be worked through, and for some of our young athletes, it will be the first time that they are going through that grief process. We want to acknowledge that and provide some support that makes sense to them,” McKenzie said.

“You can’t believe it, you do some bargaining, you get angry, you get sad. You’ve lost something that you were working towards for a long period of time. We have got so many stories from over the years of athletes who have missed out for whatever reason, and used that adversity to create an opportunity.”

While the impact of the pandemic was something which few had predicted, it created the same issues as other challenges that athletes faced, McKenzie said.

“It’s another blindside. You don’t know when you will get injured, or not get selected. This is a new phenomenon, but it’s the same process in our brains,” he said.

“Sport shows up people’s true colours under pressure. This situation is showing up the best of us as human beings.”

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