A year most players relied on gym training sessions to achieve full fitness!

Evans Murutu Sikoto a one time African heavy weight champion who had represented Kenya in several games, training at a makeshift gym at Kitengela ,Kajiado county.PETERSON GITHAIGA 

With emergence and application of science for players in training sessions, it forced experts to come up with measures on ways to get full fitness on agility and effectiveness of players in the pitch in different disciplines.

And for all these to operate as scheduled, music also became a major component in the gym training for faster and slow training sessions.

Gym training is considered a training method to improve physical fitness, acquisition of skills, improvement of tactical efficiency and education, and improvement of mental capabilities.

The aim of this style of training is to prepare players for the highest possible performance at any time and in any competition.

At times, gym instructors do not require the use of music to conduct some of their sessions.

In the past, coaches and trainers were only accustomed to field training as the only method to attain full physical fitness but the emergence of sports science has made it mandatory for gym training as another source of improving fitness in the competitive world of sports.

All these technological advancements were first practiced in the western world where each coach had his style of workouts.

And all these were a way to improve on strength and conditioning of players, a trend that has also been fully emulated by African coaches and trainers.

To date, players find it incomplete to achieve full fitness without gym training sessions.

While training for the Repechage Cup in readiness for the Rugby World Cup qualifiers set for France next year, ‘Play With Fitness Gym’ in Gilgil, for the first time hosted the National 15s Rugby side - Kenya Simbas in November 2022.

Head coach Paul Odera said gym training overstretches his boys to attain the depth of their muscle memory and endurance in extreme matches.

“Going to the gym also helps players to work and push hard when under fatigue in tough matches, hence the need for the depth of strength in muscle memory that them in extreme circumstances,” he said.

The gym instructor Fredrick Okal said it was their first time to host a national rugby side at the facility that in the past had attracted and trained a number of sports personalities from different disciplines.

Most polo players from Rift Valley and Central Kenya regions train at the gym (Play With Fitness Gym) ahead of crucial tournaments at Manyatta Polo Club in Gilgil.

Athletes, footballers, boxers, polo players and golfers and indoor games players are some of the sportsmen and women who prefer gym training to keep their fitness intact.

That is where gym training has come in to supplement the achievement of field training.

 “Gym training assists in mental health and players train on better facilities, it helps them enjoy their workouts and have social fun, a development that has attracted golfers, hockey, and polo players,” said Cheza Millar, a polo player who trains at ‘Play With Fitness Gym.

Handicap 6 Nakuru Golf Club chairman Mandip Sahota who trains at Merica Fitness Centre said it had improved his agility by over a hundred percent and therefore made his work cut out whenever faced with serious golf matches on different courses across the country.

“It took me twelve months before I started to feel the effects of the indoor gym training that has assisted in shaping my career as a golfer. It increases the endurance of a golfer,” he said.

With good endurance on a pitch, it has resulted in Sahota winning a number of titles at his home club and on different golf courses across the country.

Professional footballer and Kenya international defender David ‘Calabar’ Owino who plays for Zesco United FC in the Zambian Premier League is a person who prefers gym training whenever he’s in the country from Lusaka.

“It gives us skills to maintain our fitness hence it gives coaches and trainers an easier time when we get to pitch training sessions,” said Owino who is a Gor Mahia defender.

And during their Kenyan Premier League matches, former champions Ulinzi Stars spent their indoor training sessions at Merica Indoor Gymnasium for the past five years ahead of their epic matches, a trend observed with other league clubs that have been involved in continental and global matches in Africa and world over.

“It assists us gauge our endurance before any crucial league matches,” said one of Ulinzi players.

National Boxing head coach Musa Benjamin said gym training is very crucial because it assist boxers to build punching power of players for them to produce powerful blows when on the ring in matches.

“When a powerful punch lands on the right target, a boxer scores points and that’s why we take strength and conditioning training sessions seriously whenever we are faced with international assignments. We must get involved in these sessions,” Benjamin told Standard Sports.

And as the National Boxing Team was preparing for a number of international assignments this year, they spent most of the indoor training sessions time at AV Fitness Gymnasium in Lavington, Nairobi. 

“Indoor training assured us of formidable strength and conditioning training sessions at a time we were faced with lots of international assignments, which assisted us in different ways leading to some us winning medals in different championships,” said Africa Zone Three super heavyweight champion Elly Ajowi.

Sharpshooters and volleyballers have also made it a route to attend these sessions.

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