Sat | Nov 28, 2020

Unit training championed for Premier League clubs

Published:Monday | September 28, 2020 | 12:14 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer
Waterhouse FC players engage in training drills at the Drewsland Stadium on Wednesday, April 24, 2019.
Waterhouse FC players engage in training drills at the Drewsland Stadium on Wednesday, April 24, 2019.

Sports physician Dr Akshai Mansingh says that preseason training for the upcoming Premier League season can commence safely as long as local restrictions on gatherings are adhered to.

Organisers are targeting a start on November 4, pending health protocols being finalised with the Ministry of Health and Wellness. Some clubs have approached their preparations differently, by having either individual sessions or group workouts.

Mansingh said that once the players have been evaluated on their physical condition, a framework can be developed to have sessions safely with the implementation of unit training to safeguard players.

“Once [you’ve] assessed where they are, you then devise a programme which would allow training within the confines of the law in Jamaica,” Mansingh told The Gleaner. “And what that would mean is what you would call unit training. You could actually have groups of six or eight that train together. You have the full size of the field so can adequately have social distancing.”

As part of the protocols proposed ahead of the season, Jamaica Football Federation president Michael Ricketts said, while not disclosing specifics, that patrons would not be allowed at training sessions and that the sessions must be conducted in a safe manner.

However, Mansingh said that with adequate rotation of personnel and carefully designed drills, unit training can be successful in current circumstances.

“So the forward line would be training against the defensive line, and you can do scenarios there, and once you finish with one set, you can bring in a second set,” Mansingh said. “And so what you are going to see is a lot more groups, a lot more special units rotated for the day to ensure that you have no more than 15 at a time and to make sure that you have adequate spacing.”

Dunbeholden FC released a video on their Instagram page on Friday showing their players partaking in training activities. Manager Paul Christie said that they have implemented unit training in accordance with the local restrictions on groups and that the players are being diligent in safeguarding themselves.

“The players are not stupid; they are not naive,” he said. “They understand what is happening and how it can impact their ability to [play]. So they are taking extra precautions.”

Waterhouse FC president Donovan White said that they are still doing individual workout sessions using online platform Zoom. However, he said that unit training is possible for clubs within the restrictions as long as their facilities have the means to safeguard with sanitisation protocols and temperature checks before entering.

“Obviously, we encourage our teams to establish and abide by the established protocols, which is, all teams have temperature guns and [checks done],” he said. “Any player demonstrating any kind of symptoms must be removed from the training area immediately and reported to the Ministry of Health.”

COVID-19 testing for players and staff of all 12 clubs is expected to take place today as part of the process of the league returning to action, with another series of testing to be done before the season begins.