The ability to change with the times and work with the challenges presented, rather than against them, is something that the boys, parents and staff at Joeys have continually achieved since the College’s inception. The circumstances surrounding COVID-19 and its impact on sport and fitness at Joeys is all too similar to the events in 1919, when the brothers adapted College sports meetings, competitions and training to facilitate the needs of the boys, whilst maintaining the welfare and physical wellbeing of all students in their care.
In the 1919 College magazine, it was reported:
“On account of the prevalence of the influenza we had no Easter holidays, but a pleasant substitution was given us in the form of a Sports Meeting. A change was made in connection with the age of competitors. Five divisions were made according to the following ages: over 17, under 17, under 16, under 15, and under 14. Afterwards a colour competition was arranged between the members of each of these divisions. The new scheme worked well, stimulating interest by giving each competitor as fair a chance as possible of distinguishing himself.”
In Term One, the College was informed of the restrictions around sports training and the importance of social distancing. In turn, the College sports staff, coaches and PDHPE teachers have worked hard to ensure that the Joeys boys of 2020 have the opportunity, like those in 1919, to distinguish themselves.
Prior to the boys making their way home in week 8 of Term One 2020, to commence isolation, boys trained in their chosen winter sports and took part in fitness programs that involved athletic development. Students were broken up into smaller groups and rotated every 10 minutes through a number of exercises.
These activities included running technique, core work, agility, speed and stamina. The students appreciated the importance of improving in these areas and completed the drills enthusiastically. Other boys had the opportunity to make full usage of the recently renovated tennis facilities after school.
As the Off-Site Learning Plancommenced, and students began the continuation of learning from home, Mr Jeremy Ticehurst (strength and conditioning) and Mr Tim Bushnell (College physio) put together two fitness and skills programs (advanced and beginner) for the students to complete. The two video programs provided a number of ideas and tips for all students to participate in.
It was vital that all students, no matter their level of fitness, were catered for. The beginners fitness and skills program demonstrated the best technique for warm-ups, strength (bridges, squats, clock lunges, burpees, push ups, etc), mobility and cool-downs. The advanced fitness and skills program demonstrated the best technique for warm-ups, strength (farmer’s walk, military and squat press, walking lunges), high-intensity interval training (jumping lunges, skier’s lunges, burpees) and mobility and cool-downs. These two programs were developed to be attempted at home, using whatever resources could be found around the house.
The Heads of Winter Sport (Mr Andrew Blades, Mr Cameron Hart, Mr David Moore, Mr Paudie Fleming and Mr Craig Attwater) further developed ‘sport specific’ training programs for the students to complete during the holidays. These additional tips included general drills (kicking, passing, running, evasive skills, etc) and specific exercises linked to certain positions. A number of videos were made with staff, students and internationals, highlighting the correct techniques and processes.
Ahead of the commencement of Term Two, the Heads of Sport, in consultation with coaches and Mr Tim Bushnell, will continue to provide general and sport-specific training tips for all students in their chosen sports.
Students are encouraged to attempt these training tips at the end of the school day to improve their personal fitness, relieve stress and aid in their personal wellbeing. Each Wednesday, a structured training session will be provided by the Heads of Sport for all students to complete.
For many of the boys, their time in isolation has further highlighted the benefits of daily physical activity. Whether the boys participate in their chosen sport for the competition, camaraderie or to simply burn off extra energy and assist them on focussing on their class work throughout the day, all of the teachers, coaches and staff at the College look forward to working with the boys, to further develop their ongoing skills, fitness and physical wellbeing.