Rovers’ Head of Athletic Performance, Chris Rush, insists communicating with the players effectively and ensuring they keep on top of their fitness levels have been the two most important aspects to consider during the current quarantine.
The players have been away from their Brockhall training base since March 13th, when it was announced that all football fixtures would be postponed until at least April 3rd.
The Championship campaign has since been suspended indefintely, as the country tackles the Coronavirus pandemic, with strict social-distancing measures put in place.
A key member of Tony Mowbray’s backroom team, Rush has provided the players with fitness programmes they can follow at home, which include going for regular runs, which he can monitor through a tracking App.
Rush says, as the seriousness of the situation has developed, the players’ programmes have been adapted accordingly, but he is pleased with how the squad have responded.
Speaking to iFollow Rovers, he said: “It all came about very quickly and once we were notified that we didn’t have a game, whilst we were training on the Friday, preparing for the Bristol City game, we went away not really knowing the seriousness of it all.
“So we had plans in place to provide programmes, but we were going to come back in within three or four days, so initially there wasn’t too much of an issue.
“But then, it obviously quickly escalated, the seriousness of the situation ramped up and the games have been pushed further and further away, so what’s been important for us is, first of all, making sure we can communicate to the players in the most effective way.
“So at the moment, that’s a WhatsApp group, which means we can have all the first team and Under-23s players in that WhatsApp group and because there’s been daily changes, it’s been important that we can send the same message to everybody and there’s the ability to communicate back, so that’s one aspect.
“The other aspect is obviously the physical work that we’ve been getting them to do. Again, initially, because we didn’t know how long we were going to be away for, the programme that we gave the players was quite basic and then as we’ve realised that we’re going to be away a little bit longer, we’ve put a lot more detail into it and we’re now tracking players through an App that allows you to see all their work that they’re doing outside, like running and the sessions that they’ve been prescribed.
“There’s also a social media element to it as well, so they can see all of each other’s runs, who’s doing what, and it’s been really good. The players have been excellent on the uptake of it.
“It’s obviously a completely new situation. People have been speaking about it being an off-season situation, but it isn’t really because off-season is normally a time where we would recommend quite a good period of rest and recovery, but we’ve not been able to really do that because we’re not clear on when that next game is and how fit the players need to be.
“So it is quite unique in the sense that we’re trying to replicate what we would do in training, but from their homes, which has obviously been a challenge, but I’d like to think we’ve got a good handle on it now.”