It is a good thing one of Sean Dancer’s mantras to the Irish women’s squad is “those that can adapt are the one who will succeed” as the Green Army attempt to keep up their training in a world of social distancing.
It means the panel have been innovating, making the best of the implements around them. For Nicci Daly, a dab hand at engineering, she has been keeping her touch in with home-made obstacle courses with the ensuing videos picking up plenty of internet air-time.
#socialdistancing skills day 2. Since it went down so well yesterday myself and @alimeeke made a hockey obstacle course using some raw materials. Off ya go kids, get creative! #selfisolation #covid_19 #stayhome #hockeyathomechallenge #createdontcontaminate #Osakahockey @20x20_ie pic.twitter.com/pPewknL9Ku
— Nicci Daly (@NicciDaly22) March 18, 2020
“People are doing what they can; I built a gym at the side of my house,” she told The Hook about how she is trying to keep herself busy.
“Luckily enough, I have a squat-rack and a bar. Some of the girls have had to make do with whatever they have in their houses. But is hard. Even going for a run, you are trying to figure out distances and things like that. It’s not ideal but you have to do what you can and hope in a few weeks’ time, or whatever, we can get back on the pitch.”
The side were due to be in Durban at this point but the rapid spread of the coronavirus saw that tour cancelled last Friday with all on-field action in Ireland also postponed until March 29th at the earliest.
“The South Africa tour was a huge event on our [Olympic] calendar; three weeks in the heat getting eight tests against three different nations with the humidity,” Roisin Upton told the Examiner.
“It’s something we are all looking forward to. There wasn’t a ban in place [at the time] to stop us travelling [at the time] so it was an in-house decision, a tough one at that, but there are more important things in life than sport.
“Essentially, we are in the same lockdown as everyone else. We can’t get together as a squad so much of the work we will be doing will be physical by ourselves.”
The Limerick native has access to nearby pitches at Crescent Comprehensive and Catholic Institute’s Rosbrien while she is borrowing some of her brother’s dumbells and kettle bell.
For Daly and Upton, they both have been hearing the growing calls for a postponement of the Olympic Games but they have to still focus on the competition going ahead as planned.
With cabin fever setting in, a request for some skills to practice got me out! So kids, up ya get plenty of #socialdistancing tricks for you to practice there. I nominate @shirleymccay & @alimeeke to show their social distance skills!#showyoursocialdistance @FIH_Hockey @20x20_ie pic.twitter.com/51KZMxaEii
— Nicci Daly (@NicciDaly22) March 17, 2020
“You hear it! Everyone has an opinion about what should happen,” Upton said. “There’s just so much unknown and so much uncertainty; so many questions. It is hard to have a contingency plan for something like this.
“All we can try and do is stay focused on the day-to-day. The Olympics is still scheduled for the exact same time and the exact same place. Nothing has changed.
“We do have to adapt [our schedule] but that is one of the things Sean has echoed since he came into our squad – ‘those that can adapt are the ones who will succeed’.
“This is another test for us. It is a bigger picture and a lot more important than our team but we are trying to stay focused.”
Daly added: “There’s no point getting too hung up on what people are saying left, right and centre. Different countries are wanting different things to happen. The positive thing is Japan seems fairly set on it going ahead.
“We still have to train and prepare like it is happening and think that it is. It is out of our hands so we have to just control what we can as best we can.”
This week I'm supposed to be in South Africa ramping up our preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, however right now real life is more important 💬@irishhockey captain @katiemullan11 on the challenges of training during self-isolation
— BBC SPORT NI (@BBCSPORTNI) March 18, 2020