Although the entire world has come to a halt owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, Indian U-16 National Team coach Bibiano Fernandes been conducting three weekly webinars to understand where his wards stand physically and mentally, and how much they have been working on the regular workout routines provided to them. Apart from these, he has also hosted one interactive tactical session. In a freewheeling interview, the young coach elaborated on his online conferences, the experience, the regimes he shared with the boys, and much more.
When did the idea of hosting a webinar come to your mind?
It first struck my mind when the AIFF-SAI webinar happened. I attended a few ones hosted by the AFC as well. We have been monitoring the boys through other mediums too but felt the Webinar would help us more – at least everyone would get to see everyone.
What did you tell your boys?
We communicate with all the boys through our internal Whatsapp group regularly. But as I mentioned communicating with them through video conferences was bound to have more impact. I also got to see them exercising. Before going home, we had shared specific regimes with all the boys. Honestly, I don’t want them to overstress on their fitness during the lockdown period but want them to work on their basics and maintain the good habits they have learnt.
Please elaborate on the regime you have shared with them.
We follow the FIFA 11+ regime. If you go through the schedule twice a week, players will stay fitter and immune to frequent injuries. An injury would be the last thing that I would want my players to come with when they re-join the camp. They are hungry to run now. Once they go out for a run when the lockdown is lifted, we need to be extra careful, as they may get injured.
I always prefer to use bodyweight for strength and core exercises. Besides, they also carry out some basic exercises like pull-up, push-up, planks, lunges and other core workouts.
What kind of exercises have been stressed upon?
We are also working on improving their peripheral vision too. While you are inside your room, you can look at the Television set and receive the ball actually not looking towards it. Even you can look at the mirror and practise kicking the ball to the wall, and receiving it. These are some practices which can be easily practised indoors.
How are you monitoring that they are following the regime?
There’s a mutual trust between my boys and me. Representing the country is enough to keep ourselves motivated and driven towards the purpose. We finished as the group winners in the qualifiers, and these boys are really pumped up to replicate their performance in the AFC U-16 finals.
If someone cheats, he might lose the lifetime opportunity to represent the National Team. They themselves should take ownership and get a sense of responsibility.