Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition)

Expert tips for high-performanc­e athletes

- NTUTHUKO MLONDO ntuthuko.mlondo@inl.co.za

LED by Sharks coach and Glenwood old boy (class of 2006) Warren Whiteley, The Making of a High Performer Symposium at Glenwood High School last week saw sporting representa­tives and experts sharing their expertise on how to create the perfect high-performanc­e athlete.

“A safe environmen­t is prioritisi­ng connection,” said Whiteley, who was also Rugby First XV captain at Glenwood. “We must promote vulnerabil­ity and create a safe environmen­t in which our students and athletes can thrive. We must prioritise connection among our peers.”

Whiteley said he was “superpumpe­d” to be speaking at his former school and sharing his knowledge with learners. His topic was relationsh­ips and their role in developing/making a high-performing athlete.

He shared the story of his time with the Lions rugby franchise. During one of their team meetings, a player opened up about being bullied in high school.

Whiteley said his dad, who had been the coach of the Lions at the time, was emotional. “After Ruan (Ackermann) shared that story, everyone felt comfortabl­e and opened up. The connection in the group went from 25% to 90%.”

He said that if learners and athletes were not able to communicat­e their vulnerabil­ities, the relationsh­ip would be superficia­l. He said a safe environmen­t was the foundation of strong, healthy relationsh­ips.

“I feel seen. I feel heard. I feel valued. When we feel those three things, through connection and regardless of my job, my means will exceed my expectatio­ns and will achieve unbelievab­le things. My communicat­ion and relationsh­ips will grow. Then, I will reflect and get better,” he said.

Former Cricket SA men’s Proteas lead physiother­apist Craig Govender spoke about managing injuries.

“Meticulous planning with regard to injury management is important. The player is the most important individual in injury management and they need to

be involved in (the) process.

“We need to work as a team and not just a medical team,” said Govender, who has also worked with cricket franchises, among them the Mumbai Indians and the Highveld Lions (now DP World Lions), and shared experience­s with Arsenal Football Club.

He compared high-performanc­e athletes’ bodies to a business that needed investment. It needed to be understood that there were shared values, common objectives and “a return in investment” results.

Govender said some players – X-Factor players– liked to talk on other topics besides their sporting discipline, so it was important to understand that and through that, reinforce the notion of having a personal relationsh­ip with the athlete.

Rhodes University human kinetics and ergonomics lecturer Dr Jonathan Davy spoke about the importance of quality sleep and how a lack of it could lead to injuries.

His presentati­on was based on his research, “Finding Balance: The Importance of Prioritisi­ng sleep as a pillar of learner Wellness & Performanc­e”.

“Sleep health is a multidimen­sional sleep-wakefulnes­s pattern adapted to individual, social and environmen­tal demands that promote mental well-being.”

Davy summed up the point with the acronym, Rusated, which stands for: Regulatory, U, Satisfacti­on, Timing, Efficiency and Duration. The acronym was also used as a question for each letter.

Regulatory: the degree to which sleep occurred at roughly the same time each day; U; Satisfacti­on: the subjective assessment of “good” or “poor” sleep; Alertness: the ability to maintain attentive wakefulnes­s; Timing: the placement of sleep within the 24-hour day; Efficiency: the ratio between the time spent asleep and time available for sleeping; Duration: the total amount of sleep obtained every 24 hours.

Davy said sleep deprivatio­n could affect a pupil’s mood, increase their anxiety and possible depression, lower academic performanc­e and motivation and increase their hunger hormone, which then led to weight gain.

He suggested that teachers should set tests at ideal times and not first thing in

physical and the morning. Training sessions should be held during the day because early morning training for a sleep-deprived athlete could increase the risk of injury.

Sharks Rugby nutritioni­st Danielle Venter shared the importance of diets and how they contribute­d to the performanc­e of an athlete.

“The guys who do well, are rarely injured, play season after season and have lengthy careers are the ones who are wholly invested in their health … (They’re) the ones who are pedantic about having systems in place,” she said.

“If it comes off a tree or out of the earth and the sun shines on it, then you can eat it. If it’s in plastic or went through a factory, avoid it.”

Venter added that it was important to teach athletes how to plan meals because if they did not have a plan they would be tempted to eat unhealthy food.

She said that if an athlete ate healthily and had eight to 10 hours’ sleep a day, it contribute­d to building muscle.

Sharks defence coach Joey Mangalo spoke about spirituali­ty. He said athletes had to be able to identify who they were and that the sport did not define them, it was just something that they did.

 ?? ?? FORMER CSA Proteas physiother­apist Craig Govender, left, and Glenwood 1st XI cricket coach Darryl Govender chat at the Making of a High Performer symposium last week.
FORMER CSA Proteas physiother­apist Craig Govender, left, and Glenwood 1st XI cricket coach Darryl Govender chat at the Making of a High Performer symposium last week.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa