Perfect Time To Pause and Plan
How a broken pelvis prepared me for COVID-19 isolation
written by Stewart Briggs, Managing Director
The year was 1996. The setting was a neat, but old flat among the many uninspiring unit blocks that lined the streets. It was summertime in Bowling Green, Ohio so there were a few other students milling about and woohooing from their narrow balconies. I was 22 years old, trying to finish my master’s degree in record time – 18 months. It was a goal I had set myself as I was keen to start my career at the university as a strength and conditioning coach. I was working under the excellent tutelage of Mike Ward. I was also engaged to Vicki and we were on the cusp of finishing university and starting our careers and lives.
What was the complication? I had to finish my thesis. It was a massive project and I was behind schedule. Sitting down in the flat at my computer, away from the buzz and excitement of the gym, was very hard for me to make a priority.
Approximately 8 weeks prior to my proposed graduation date, my thesis was still only fragmented, skeletal bits of content. Mostly, the cursor just blinked at me on the screen, going nowhere fast.
Then, the twist to the story happened, I suffered an injury
It was not just an average injury, I fractured my pelvis in an accident. This meant I had to stop physical activity for 6 weeks. It was painful, restrictive and frustrating, but it forced me to re-focus on my goals.
So, contained within the four walls of my flat, I decided to own the situation and finish my thesis. This included a lot of research on how I could recover from this injury, to rehabilitate myself to become even faster, stronger and more powerful than before. So, the resolution was my mindset. I took the situation and made the most of it. It gave me the perspective to see what was really important and how to use it to improve myself.
If that injury hadn’t happened…who knows? I’m kind of glad it did. The experience showed me how to take advantage of an adverse situation.
I have recalled this story because it has a lot of similarities with our situation with COVID-19. It has come out of nowhere. Just when we were living the life, doing so well and looking forward to the next phase, it changed everything.
But, we have the opportunity to take this pause, to use the time we have to plan, seek and grow.
Here are my suggestions for making the most to these unprecedented times:
- Write down some things you would like to work on. Like putting on some muscle mass, increasing speed, improving your vertical jump. Get specific with some metrics like 2 kilograms of body weight, 0.1 seconds off your 20m, 5 centimetres onto your VJ, etc.
- Get a program specific for you, your sport and what you need to achieve. Your program should include a good warm-up, deep system activation, steering for stability, strength and power exercises and finally a recovery/flexibility routine.
- Devote at least 2 hours each day to working out and include some individual skills training (ball handling, catching, etc)
I am challenging you now to use the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to re-invent yourself as an athlete and a person. Just like I used a fractured pelvis to my advantage when I was at university, I encourage you to use this crisis to do the same. Just maybe, you will look back at this period of time in your life as a turning point in your athletic career.