Thursday, April 22

Fitness schedule at home similar to that on tour

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The COVID-19 pandemic proves we live in uncertain times. After a poor start to the 2020 season (Sharma had five missed cuts in six starts on the European Tour), I was banking on the Hero Indian Open to get back into reckoning for the Tokyo Olympics. But here I am, sitting at home trying to make the best of staying indoors after the lockdown. I have to admit spending time with my parents, sister and grandmother gives the feeling of leading a normal life that is far removed from the rigours of living out of a suitcase.

The Games’ postponement does give breathing space to aspirants like me who are yet to make the grade, but at this hour, staying indoors and safe is more important than playing golf. After practising at the range of the Chandigarh Golf Club, working on the short game and making some adjustments to the posture, I was to play the course with coach Jesse Grewal but the shutdown spoiled all plans.

With practice restricted to taking free swings, chipping in the garden and putting on the carpet in the living room, I have time for fitness. Since all gyms are shut and running on the road too isn’t easy, the schedule at home is similar to the one that I follow on tour. I don’t carry weights and the focus is on body activation exercises with resistance bands and ropes. I have been intending to work on the scapula and allied sets of muscles. It will be time well spent away from the golf course.

The intent is also to learn the guitar on YouTube but that wish will have to wait as I have to buy one and the markets are shut. The biggest draw of being home is getting to savour my mother’s delicacies. Our eating habits are simple but the love and care with which she prepares rajma chawal makes Wednesdays and Sundays special. The rest of the days it is daal and subzi, but I had platefuls of my favourite dish during the weekend.

With some time to read, I have picked up ‘The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance’ and it is difficult to put down. Author David Epstein talks of case studies across sport and how some athletes are born with certain genes and others have to work harder to excel. The tale of British triathlete Chrissie Wellington is fascinating. She started out late after working in different spheres but went on to become a four-time Ironman Triathlon world champion. Her’s is a life without limits and an inspiration for young aspirants like me.

As told to Robin Bose