‘Training is a way of keeping a routine’: Lockdown life of a professional basketball player
Pere Tomàs, the Bàsquet Manresa three, on the impact to his training regime and finding motivation during lockdown
For Pere Tomàs, small forward for central Catalan side Bàsquet Manresa playing in Spain’s top professional basketball league, the season is over. The Liga ACB has become one of the first European professional leagues to announce their way of resolving the 2019/20 season, with Tomàs and Manresa just about missing out by a points difference of merely 10.
The league decided to take the top two-thirds of the 18-team league and play out a shortened competition to decide the championship and European qualification spots, while the bottom third is to begin thinking about the next campaign. After 23 games, Manresa sit 13th in the table.
The Manresa three is disappointed that the decision was taken in a way that cuts his side out of the rest of the season when his team have the same amount of wins as Club Joventut Badalona, who sit in 12th and whose season will continue.
Nevertheless, in an interview with Catalan News the Mallorcan born small forward says he “respects” the decision taken by the authorities as it’s one agreed by all clubs, and acknowledges that there’s no simple way to resolve such a complex issue.
Not being able to finish the season is a blow, but isn’t the most important topic in the grand scheme of things. Tomàs is happy that at least his club are going through “great efforts” to continue paying the players, although with the huge loss of income, this is reduced to only 50% for the remainder of the season.
Limited training regime
In Spain, people have been 100% confined to their homes for six weeks now, and this goes for professional athletes too. The impact on Tomàs’ training regime is huge.
“Our physical trainer sends us a workout plan, adapted to be done at home, every day. It’s made up of exercises that resemble basketball as much as possible, a lot of jumping, which of course we can do at home.”
At the beginning of the state of alarm, in mid March, Bàsquet Manresa sent static bikes to all players to keep up their fitness. “We can cardio at home on the static bike so we can sweat a bit, then strength exercises to keep up muscle toning.”
“In reality, it’s not the same,” Tomàs laments. “When you play basketball you have a gym with much more space, you can do many more things.” He says technical training is especially limited, and all he can do is ball control. “There’s no other space, I don’t have a hoop or anything.”
Finding motivation in confinement
Unable to leave home and having a training schedule so restricted plays its part on mental state and motivation for the small forward too.
“In truth, there are better days and worse days. But training is a way of keeping a routine and keeping active and in the end to have a goal, overall it helps with this.”
“There are still some days where I lack motivation, but I still feel like I should do it, because it makes me feel better,'' the three explains. “When you get out of bed, you know you have to do the plan they’ve sent you, but this is good too for your mind.”
Tomàs believes that the period of confinement is going to have an impact on the performance of athletes once the lockdown is over.
“It will definitely affect us. The only thing I can say though, is half joking and half truthfully, is that all players are in the same situation, so there won’t be an excuse.”
For top level performers, it takes some time to get into the rhythm before being match fit, hence why teams have pre-season training sessions and warm up games. “But for all athletes, we’ll need some time to train,” Tomàs says.