For the past few months as the world has battled the many challenges brought on by the Corona Pandemic, people across the globe have had to find new, safer ways to conduct many of their daily activities. From grocery shopping to just simply saying hello to a neighbor, the “new normal” is now a very real reality.
For our MAD operation, teaching and training athletes had to change completely. From our old normal of an in person, high energy group activity we had to jump on the Zoom Boom and get with the new times. But, like everyone else, we had to adapt and transition, trying our best to make the best of a very frightening, challenging situation.
As mentioned in our previous MAD Times article, the transition to Zoom technology posed the first major obstacle. With a huge assist from MAD alumni Tunde and Tayo Sobomehin of Street Code Academy, Head Coach Eric Bringas, MAD’s Director of Sport Technology, valiantly led the Zoom transition.
For both our IPC (Institute of Physical Culture) students and our Team Project with Head Coach Carl Jacobs and his Lincoln High School Boys basketball program, Coach Bringas and the Sobomehins joined forces to set up everyone’s Zoom platform, working together to ensure all were equipped and connected.
However, once the technology hurdle was addressed, the door to a whole new reality and its many challenges, was opened: Training and coaching via a video screen with access to very little training space or exercise equipment.
MAD Coach, Ryan Munoz will go into greater detail in explaining LTAD Pillar #9, “Individualized Overload” in his accompanying article, but the basic concept is how do you customize exercises to safely and adequately challenge individuals so that they can continue to improve, i.e. get stronger, faster and more powerful.
As everyone has different needs and varying abilities, addressing Individualized Overload demands under the old normal conditions was challenging but very doable and could be readily accomplished. Add weight, use different equipment etc. and an athletes training could continue to stimulate development.
Unfortunately, “Shelter in Place” training facilities are to say the least, extremely spartan. So with little or no equipment, very limited training space and no in person human contact and camaraderie, how do we provide athletic development services and especially Individual Overloads so that our MAD athletes can continue their respective growth and prepare for their future sporting endeavors?
Simply put, you “be like water” and become the Cup. Being a long time student of the renowned martial artist Bruce Lee's teachings and philosophies as well as having the amazing opportunity earlier in my life to actually train with numerous members of his Jeet Kune Do family, the concept of being like water is very clear to me.
As a martial artist faced with the challenges of real physical confrontation, you are best served if you can be loose, fluid and adaptable. Rigid, stick in the mud unadaptable actions will very often lead to disastrous outcomes.
If one can incorporate the principle of fluid adaptability, (Bruce Lee’s mantra “be like water”) whether as a martial artist or in any facet of life, you are better equipped to meet and handle life’s challenges by flowing with changes rather than breaking from rigidity. For example, water poured into a cup becomes the cup. We as MAD coaches and athletes, in these Pandemic challenged times, simply became the cup: to the best of our collective abilities we applied the “be like water” principle and adapted to Zoom training as fluidly as possible.
In the true spirit of “We are all in this together”, the MAD crew adapted its operation to the world of Zoom and distance training. As Coaches, we devised programs that best adhered to sound training principles while utilizing whatever available exercise equipment our students had access to.
For MAD trainees, they enthusiastically embraced the challenge of at home gym creativity! From Nico Arizini getting his Dad’s permission to employ full wine bottles as dumbbells, Riley Grigsby grabbing an old hockey stick for use as a barbell, Andre Campbell employing a step stool as a bench, Jackie Acosta transforming her family living room into her personal training facility or Dina Frankel receiving on site coaching cues from her loyal pup Harry, Pandemic friendly Individualized overloading is being accomplished.
Though the true heart and soul of training is best captured in the essence of in person team camaraderie, Lincoln Assistant Coach, Matt Fegan best embodies the very spirit of these current times when he’s passionately barking coaching cues to his young charges. The Zoom screen can’t hide the coy smirks and smiles of Lincoln players such as Antonio Pusateri, Tyreque Elleston and Daniel Toy upon hearing the friendly but caring chiding from Coach Fegan. Everyone may be in different locations but they all know we are all working together to get better.
Pandemic Individualized Overloading. Simple. Become the cup.