Coronavirus: Kaizer Chiefs’ Marsh on the importance of sleep to avoid injuries

The effects of the coronavirus pandemic can be felt in many aspects of life, as Kaizer Chiefs head of sports science Jarred Marsh explained the importance of enough sleep for their players to avoid sustaining injuries.

Marsh explains why everything has changed since the outbreak of the pandemic which has forced many leagues around the world to suspend their matches.

The Soweto giants were on target to win their first Premier Soccer League (PSL) title since the 2014/15 season when the current campaign was halted in March, and the technical team member shed some light on the impact of not training on the pitch.

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“Things have changed for us as Covid-19 has engulfed the world and impacted every aspect of life,” Marsh told the club's official website.

“We are now lockdown is one of the safety measures to prevent the rapid spread of the virus. As footballers, we have had to modify our training methods with the aid of technology, because we are not training on the pitch as normal.

"This also affects our training schedule which for instance normally would have included matches.

“What is important is to keep and commit to a daily routine. The routine must incorporate sleeping on time and waking up according to a strict pattern.

"Research recommends seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Sleeping fewer hours can increase players’ chances of getting injured.”

With South Africa currently in Level-4 of lockdown, Marsh gave an insight into how coach Ernst Middendorp’s troops are taken through their paces from the comfort of their homes.

“Players have three running sessions per week in their programme. Each player responds differently from the impact of road running. We have devised sessions to allow players to build up the intensity of their exercising,” he added.

“The programme includes building a strong vascular base to allow the acceleration and slowing down movements which are part of football match functioning.

“Through video, the players are divided into smaller groups. We are able to monitor them via GPS. Every player has a GPS App through which we can monitor the distance covered, speed, and his heart rate.

“We don’t know how much time we will be given to prepare for the remaining matches.

“It is going to be important after lockdown to prepare the team adequately. Lack of match exposure may cause injures and hamper the results and progress.

"We are looking forward to the day we return to the pitches.”

As things stand, Amakhosi lead the PSL standings with 48 points from 22 matches and were scheduled to face Bidvest Wits in March just before the games were indefinitely called off.

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