22 Sep National athletes take part in first-ever virtual training
[September 22, 2020 – Harmon, Guam] Close to 40 Guam National program athletes logged into the first-ever virtual training session with Guam Football Association High Performance Coach Pavel Gubenko and National Coaches Monday evening via Zoom.
With GFA closed during PCOR-1, the GFA Technical Department continues to adapt to the current environment by offering alternative opportunities to keep athletes in top condition.
“With GFA closed during PCOR-1, we’ve had to cancel training sessions on the pitch and develop other ways to keeps athletes engaged in the national program and to stay fit for football,” said Sang Hoon Kim, GFA Technical Director. “Earlier this year, we developed modified training sessions to comply with PCOR-2 mandates and again, we’ve had to modify training further with online sessions now. It’s been over a month since Guam was placed in PCOR-1 and GFA closed, but we owe it to our athletes to do everything we can to keep them focused and motivated. Once we are able to resume regular training on the pitch and play matches, the players will be confident and ready.”
Each online session lasts for a little over an hour, with a series of exercises focused on various muscle groups to promote overall fitness. Players from the Matao, Guam Men’s National Team, the U20/U19 Manhoben, and the U17 National Team log in on Mondays and Wednesdays, while the Masakåda/U20 Women’s National Team and the U17 Women’s National Team are scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“I believe that with every situation, there is always something good that we can take out of it,” said Nainoa Norton, who trains with the U20/U19 Manhoben and among the first group to take part in the virtual training session. “We should take advantage of the break and strive to progress in all aspects of our game as players.
“When I first heard that we would be doing online training sessions, I was excited that we would be able to finally start back up again. I’m ready to step into a role as a leader to keep my teammates motivated as it is imperative to keep training in these times,” Norton added.
Gubenko plans a series of fitness exercises ahead of each Zoom session that is also attended by national program coaches. Similar to regular training sessions, Gubenko delivers instructions while demonstrating each activity; however, in the case of the virtual session, Gubenko then observes the players’ movements and effort through video, while also giving feedback.
“I liked our session and I was excited about it,” said Douglas Kelly, who trains with the Guam U17 Boys National Team. “I was happy to see my teammates and coaches. I had no problem with the (online) format – I had everything I needed to participate in the training session. I believe that this type of training session is necessary or beneficial for players who haven’t been working out. If you haven’t been working out, this helps you with your technique and conditioning.
“I think this training will help because we will be back in shape before GFA opens and we could start where we left off,” Kelly added.
In addition to organized online training sessions, athletes are tasked to do individual training on their own during the week. Each athlete is provided access to digital applications to provide their progress to coaches. Although attendance is tracked for the twice weekly virtual session, individual accountability by the athletes during the sessions and on non virtual session days will determine how easily they transition back to training on the pitch and to competing in tournaments once the pandemic situation improves.
“I think that with this format, it’s easy to not put 100 percent, but as national team representatives, we should all hold ourselves accountable for any type of training,” Norton said.
Guam Football Association High Performance Coach Pavel Gubenko has a feedback session with National Program coaches following the first virtual training session for athletes via Zoom Monday evening. The GFA Technical Department has devised virtual training sessions for athletes while the GFA National Training Center remains closed during PCOR-1.
Guam U17 Boys National Team player Douglas Kelly takes part in a modified training session at the Guam Football Association National Training Center in this July 1, 2020 file photo. The GFA Technical Department has devised virtual training sessions for athletes while the GFA National Training Center remains closed during PCOR-1.