Playing the home game

Many of us have been working from home for some time – but when you’re a footballer, that’s impossible. We asked Imogen James , defender with POSH Ladies, how she has adjusted to life away from the fans, the routines and the sport she loves, and what we all might learn from it…

First of all, what has lockdown been like for you?
As with the first lockdown, I’m not working, I am just at home, trying to do workouts and keeping myself fit. So, it’s quite tough. I also work in primary schools as a sports coach, so at the moment, that’s not happening either. So, it’s just about keeping myself motivated to do something during the day – something to focus on and keep myself in some sort of routine. And, of course, there are days when I don’t feel like doing anything, but it’s just about pushing yourself through that.

Between lockdowns there were matches being played, but presumably they were not quite normal?
Well, no. No fans allowed. There was just you and the other players, so it was a bit strange. A few of the games also got postponed, due to people in the opposing team having COVID and things like that. We had regular temperature checks and had to fill a form before every training or match day to say if we’d had symptoms in the last week, or since the last training session. So, we had protocols put in place to confirm that we were all OK. I think we’re actually quite lucky to be fair, because no one was affected. But that wasn’t normal at all. The only part that was normal was the training, which was still as enjoyable as it was before. And I think we were all just happy to be able to play some form of football, whether that be training or matches.

How do you stay fit and motivated?
I try and stick to a routine every morning, which for me means getting up and doing it straight away – a home workout or run or something like that. I feel more like more motivated to do it in the mornings, so that’s become my structure and my routine. Just doing home workouts can be pretty tough, but we did have a Zoom meeting with the team every Wednesday where we spoke about the sort of analysis side of our game, and then did a HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) session on Zoom, which was really good. It motivates you a lot more knowing that everybody is also doing it – and I think it’s really important for your mental health to do something, whether it’s just a walk, or doing a 10 minute blast. And make it part of a routine. That way, you’re more likely to actually do it, but it also gives structure to the day. Even if it’s just ten minutes every day, it can make a difference.

You teach sports to kids too, so what might be a good approach for families with children?
Normally kids are at school every day, and more active, even if it’s just running around at break or lunchtime, but at home they’re sat at a table. So, I think it’s important to get the kids up and out and doing something. They can do it on Zoom with their friends, and that motivates them more, seeing that there are other people doing it as well – but you can just do it together as a family, then everyone gets that motivation. And if you know what your kids like, you can turn it into a game – if they like Spider Man you can give it a theme and perhaps give different exercises the kinds of names Spider Man might give them. That really helps children. It seems silly, but that’s how children think. And parents and children often watch these things together so it’s an easy, accessible way to do things.

What are you most looking forward to in 2021?
Getting back on the pitch with the fans there! And winning our first game back…

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