Football

The COVID-19 Diaries: Healthy body and mind

While South Africans across the country have been coping with the COVID-19 lockdown in different ways, leading female referee Aimee Barrett-Theron has accepted the drastic life change as a valuable training and mental strength challenge.

Barrett-Theron is busy by nature. If she is not fulfilling her duties as a professional referee or training, she is hard at work at her Biokineticspractice in Pinelands in the Western Cape.

But despite this, she has accepted the vastly slower pace brought about by the COVID-19 lockdown and says she has been using the time to work on her game analysis and high-intensity training.

Thanks to a tailor-made referee training programme supplied by SA Rugby, even fine detail such as effective footwork will not be neglected in her training regime.

“I am pretty lucky in terms of training equipment because I literally brought half of my practice home, so I have a fully-functional home gym at the moment,” said Barrett-Theron.

“The lockdown has forced me to think out of the box and train creatively in as little space as possible. My skipping rope and trampoline have been handy in terms of cardio training and I have resorted to a lot of old-school fundamentals such as star jumps and burpees, which has challenged me in a good way.

“I also received a referee-specific training programme from SA Rugby, which allows me to work on my footwork and includes a number of other drills that are vital in my job.

“Given the nature of refereeing, which requires running, sprinting and then stopping several times in a match, the programme is largely interval training based, so it will certainly help in ensuring that I can get back into the swing of things as quickly as possible when the season resumes.”

Game analysis and liaising with her counterparts have also been keeping Barrett-Theron busy.

“The referees have been active on conference calls in the last few days, discussing match clips and doing reviews of the season so far, so this is the perfect time to discuss where we are at the moment and the adjustments we need to make going forward,” said the former Springbok Women’s backline player.

“It has also allowed the referees that participated in the competitions before the lockdown to touch base, as we usually don’t get much time to do that when the season is in full swing because we operate from one game to the next.”

With more than two weeks to go in lockdown, Barrett-Theron admitted that staying mentally stimulated and maintaining a positive mindset would be vital.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is serious and we all have to do what we can to ensure that the virus is contained,” said Barrett-Theron.

“There is no doubt that lockdown will challenge everyone, especially since we have never experienced this before, but my mantra is ‘healthy body, healthy mind’.

“From a personal perspective I have developed a daily routine, which sets out when I train and work, and I have ensured that I remain in contact with my family and friends because a positive mindset will be important in the next few weeks.”

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