Pymble keeps moving with Sport Online

Tuesday 21 April, 2020

Pymble Online Sport2

Staying home to stay safe is critical in the COVID-19 pandemic – but that doesn’t have to mean that exercise goes out the window. Thanks to an innovative online sports program led by our Director of Sport, Mr Greg Meagher, our girls and their families are having fun and staying active in their own backyards.

“Our aim was to keep Pymble moving,” Mr Meagher said. “We collaborated with our head coaches and sports co-ordinators across 25 different sports and, for the past month, we have been busy putting together – and publishing live – programs for the girls to do while they’ve been at home learning remotely via Pymble Online.”

Pymble Online Sport was rolled out across the whole school in March, via Microsoft Teams, which is the same platform the girls are using for online academic learning.

Each sport has a dedicated section with a range of resources including activities, notes and videos covering physical training, skills and technical training and, in some sports, tactical training.

“Some of our programs also include mental and psychological skills training exercises,” Mr Meagher added. The programs are designed to cater for the limited resources in home-based training. “If you have a basketball at home but no basketball ring, there’s still lots of things you can do.”

Emma Sullivan (Year 11) plays AFL for the College and for her local club and is thrilled Pymble Online Sport provides access to and support from school staff to help keep her motivation and fitness up during isolation.

“Our head of AFL has emailed some different programs to do each week, and the health and fitness co-ordinator has created personal training plans and schedules so I can do workouts at home, now that I can’t use the school gym,” she said. “I’ve also dialled into some online fitness sessions in the afternoons.”

As part of Pymble Online Sport, our Coaching Development Director, Mr Simon Pennington has overseen the production of Pymble’s live online fitness sessions, which have been running for three weeks and are continuing through the holidays.

“We are running two live online fitness sessions each day, with a different focus each day,” Mr Pennington explained.

The sessions tap into different areas to maintain strength and fitness, focusing on muscle strength, core stability and stretching and static holds as well as aerobic fitness.

The sessions aren’t just for Pymble students; siblings and parents are joining in from home too, says Mr Pennington, and sessions regularly attract hundreds of participants.

“It’s really important to keep moving at this time because when you’re at home you miss out on a lot of incidental exercise. At school, our girls usually average 4,000 to 5,000 steps each day just walking between classrooms and engaging in active play,” Mr Pennington said.

Being at home and spending more time in front of a screen can also lead to poor posture, he added. “Our stretch classes are designed to address some of those issues.”

Attending online sports programs with the instructors girls know from school adds another level of connectedness with the College during this time of isolation, Mr Pennington said.

Sport has played an important role at Pymble since the College was first established in 1916. The College currently has a number of elite athletes competing at State, National and International levels.

“For our high-level sports people, it’s important to maintain that level of fitness and strength so that they can hit the ground running when the world does get back to our normal competitions,” Mr Pennington said.

With a number of high-level speciality coaches, Pymble has been able to offer extra training for our girls via Pymble Online Sport, he added. “We have Australia’s most successful female runner, former Olympian Melinda Gainsford-Taylor, doing some special online live running masterclasses for all of our students, teaching different aspects of sprinting,” he said.

These techniques will be beneficial to athletes in a number of sports, including tennis, netball, basketball, hockey, football and soccer.

“We are also currently planning Pymble’s biggest online fitness session, which we will run in Term 2 – so watch this space!”