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  • Apr
  • 28

Cyrus Poncha: “Now is the time to rest and recover and get stronger”

Author Image Mervin LR

Dronacharya awardee has offered us all some perspective, and food for thought on how to make the most of uncertain times.

There have been many weeks of the lockdown and although nobody knows the exact date of the resumption, it is clear that it must be anticipated.

It is okay to be frustrated right now, but do not let this opportunity to grow pass by, now is the perfect time for rest and recovery, comes the advice from Cyrus Poncha, secretary of Squash Rackets Federation of India (SFRI), to all of India’s squash players.

Together, this period could be used for a reflection to analyze, rest, recover, rethink and fine-tune day to day working tools and get ready for the post-Covid-19 time.

“We are in uncertain times,” Cyrus said in an exclusive interacting with Fisto Sports.

“Players were training and gearing up to tournaments before this sudden stoppage. The one thing we must all remember is that we are in a very privileged position to be able to compete in sport over a long period of our lives.”

In the time away from sports, the Mumbai native, tries to stay in touch with the players to give them ways they can stay ready.

“In terms of competition, it’s a big sudden break for the senior players. Top players like Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinnapa, were to play competition in the month of April/May.”

“Our juniors did not feel much of the effect due to the fact they have had their plans of exams and no tournaments in the recent and coming months,” he said.


Stay in shape

Cyrus Poncha - Image Credits: SquashSite


As difficult as it has been for certain athletes to continue training on a normal basis. Cyrus was so impressed with the ways the players have responded to this situation.

“From the moment sports from all levels began cancelling, our players immediately began seeking new ways to train during this unprecedented time. Everybody's trying to do their part to stay in shape.

Elaborating on the training sessions, he said, “staying at home has become the new routine for many and for the squash players sitting at home isn’t easy.”

“Everyone who I have been in touch with are trying to put in physical activities throughout the day,” said Cyrus adding that top players are being trained right now, including noted players like Abhinav Sinha, Sourav Ghosal, Joshna Chinappa, Vikram Malhotra, Aditya Jagtap in Mumbai, Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu, who just have gone back to Chandigargh.”

“They all doing their workouts specific to things they wanted to do. But it’s nothing like what they have been doing in the past. Without playing proper squash, it becomes totally different,” said the 44-year-old.

See this as an opportunity

When asked how essential is it not to lose your fitness during this period with Squash being an extremely gruelling sport and if you are not hundred percent, it sort of shows on the court.

He replies eloquently as he sees a ray of positives, “Yes, I know it’s tough, but I will look at it in a positive way, squash players in particular, missing six weeks of training is not going to have a detrimental effect on people’s performance come the end of the season, what will, is people not staying on top of their health and well-being through this period.”

In sport and in squash, you have to always deal with setbacks, and we manage our way through them, but one thing is certain, there is always something we can learn, and there is always something we can be getting better at,” he added.


Time is one of the best ways to rest and recover

Cyrus has taken some of workout plans to give to his players.

“Everyone does work hard, lot of strain to play. This is also an ideal time to get their body in shape to recover completely. Senior players are doing their session that I put out ideas and some fitness apps on social media. Also, I did a 14 days challenge, that was at the beginning of the lockdown.”

“No other time will come like this where there won’t be any competition for two/three months. So, in a way, the players should take time out also recover from any injuries, fatigue and start strengthening their bodies. Physically and mentally adapt and be ready when the game come calling.”


Set daily goals

He further added that setting daily goals and focus on small things in the game is also crucial part to improve one’s overall game.

“We have to set daily goals, and weekly goals, breaking things up into small, manageable pieces,” he said.

“We have an opportunity to focus on things now that we might not have the chance to work on, or might not value as much, when we are training full-time. It takes the pressure off, and means you can return to full-time training without being overwhelmed.”

On being asked, “During the lockdown, how can people maintain their preparations? Can they do it at home for nearly 3 months and don’t they get bored at a certain point of time?

“Yes,” the reply.

“They might feel bored at certain point. Motivation is a hard one while stuck inside, it’s why people generally struggle to exercise from home because, from a mental aspect, your home is for relaxing while court/gym is for training.”

“Clearing the room of any distractions and try your best to stay in the required mental state is hard. They all are itching to hit the ball but we have to say that it’s a condition for everybody across the world. This COVID-19 pandemic being a worldwide situation, across the world it’s the same for everybody. It’s not like you’re at disadvantage and others at the advantage; everybody to some extent will feel the disadvantage. You have to work out and work harder once you get into your top form.”

“Now the best option is to try to get in what you can, understand this won’t be forever and use the time to research home training methods and how to get the most out of it, setting goals, however small they may be, and go from there.”

When asked about the indication as to when the sporting calendar will resume, he says “we have to wait and see.”

“We don’t know anything yet. As far as the federation goes, I think, with the current situation, we are not thinking of doing anything before possibly July/August. I think, that’s the month you can actually think of organizing events. I also think there’s a possibility of longer gaps as well.”


‘This temporary setback will not last forever’

With sports in peril, that doesn’t mean five or six weeks out of the water isn’t going to have a detrimental effect on anyone’s sporting career.

Cyrus believes that athletes all over the world will find a way to overcome this, whether it's going back to when they were younger, or revisiting old ways of doing things.

“We cannot predict who will or will not get coronavirus, that’s not what I am talking about. I’m talking more so about managing yourself, looking after yourself, and being as fit as humanely possible, during difficult times,” said the 44-year-old.

For all of us, this time away from the sport is a small road block, and it will only hinder us if we let it. Don’t let it. This is a very difficult time for all of us are finding new ways to still go after their dreams and understand this temporary setback will not last forever," he concluded.

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