Student athletes stay ahead of the game during lockdowns - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Student athletes stay ahead of the game during lockdowns

13 May 2020

Student athletes at USC are benefitting greatly from the forward thinking and creativity of the University’s Sports Clinic Assistant Aaron Turner during the coronavirus pandemic.

Aaron, a USC Clinical Exercise Science graduate who is currently doing his PhD, had been providing home-based exercise programs and online screening assessments for about 65 elite athletes involved in USC’s High Performance Student Athlete program long before any lockdowns were introduced.

“Thankfully, when I first started my role in 2019, I immediately implemented online exercise programming using the ‘TeamBuildr’ app,” Aaron said.

“This allows athletes to access their exercise programs from their mobile devices, with accompanying instructional videos on how to perform each exercise.

“So, while my exercise program delivery is very much suited to the current climate, I needed to and continue to develop creative exercises that athletes can perform from home using regular items found around the house.

“In the current situation, though, all training support is now completely digital. Email, messaging apps, and Zoom have all been vital in helping maintain communication with the student athletes.”

Aaron assists student athletes from a wide variety of sports, including cycling, BMX, basketball, outrigging, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, gymnastics, mountain biking, equestrian, surf lifesaving, soccer, cricket, Oz Tag, and various football and rugby codes.

“As most athletes do not have a home gym set up with dumbbells and barbells, our home-based exercise programs focus on improving movement proficiency, joint stability, and trunk or core strength to help make them more stable during sport-specific movements,” he said.

USC’s Deputy Director of High Performance Sport Associate Professor Mark Sayers praised Aaron for his work with the student athletes, and said they were responding well to his online coaching during the lockdown.

“Aaron has done a wonderful job to maintain contact with the students involved in the High Performance Student Athlete program,” Dr Sayers said.

“He is using apps to interact with them on a regular basis, providing individualised training programs that fit in with their needs and available equipment, and running Zoom training sessions and Zoom-based athlete assessments.”

— Megan Woodward

USC Sports Clinic Assistant Aaron Turner runs a Zoom training session.

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