Isolation is rubbish for everyone, but for those who might be used to an active, outdoors lifestyle who are missing the opportunity to run around a bit, kick something, and then clap each other on the back aggressively, it’s that little bit worse. Sportspeople who have spent months preparing for an event that has now been cancelled have seen a huge effort go to waste, and now can only go for one run a day. If, like me, you are a bit sick of doing three sit-ups every now and again and calling it fitness, then here are some other games that you can try at home.
Three words: cushion, tree, rope. Homemade tackle bag! Replicate some of the finest dislocated shoulders you’ve ever seen!
Or, if you are trying to not clog up A&E by running into trees, here is part of a typical warm up. Lie face down on the floor and with someone sat on the small of your back. Count down from three and then spend ten seconds trying to stand up. The person sat on your back is allowed to resist you – I imagine this would also work with large dogs. Once you have mastered this, you have basically got 90% of rugby down!
If you just happen to be a budding goalkeeper, why not try this ingenious training regime dreamt up by a small child?
If you’re like me and your mother thinks that having a free-standing bath is the height of sophistication, then why not hold your own Boat Race in the bath? There are two options here. Find some oars and have at it, maybe even with a VR headset of the real route. An alternative ‘Boat Race’ you might already be familiar with is going head-to-head by filling the bath with ice and light blue and dark blue cans, and the first one to finish their colour can wins! This can also be played as a team sport, if enough of your family are drinking age.
The classics include corridor and French cricket but, if your garden is long and thin like mine or even if it isn’t (it just increases the challenge), why not take some inspiration from your childhood by trying to hit a tennis ball over the top of your house with a child-sized bat? If you are successful, then you achieve legendary status, a bit like having your name on the honours board at Lords. Extra runs are scored if you accidentally hit an elderly neighbour, and then later tell them that it was a UFO.
If you are looking to change your action, this might be a good opportunity – if you want a higher jump, practise just your action with a box to jump over. If you have a problem with collapsing over to one side, then practise next to a wall. Practise shots that you are unfamiliar with using tennis balls to reduce the likelihood that you will break things. Other coaching resources are available on the ECB website.
If you don’t want to run out of balls too quickly (no, it’s not essential travel to go and get more balls), then why not use all that extra toilet paper you have? Here’s Ian Bell with a masterclass.
This is a rogue choice, as most people won’t have access to a swimming pool in isolation. However, there is this wonderful invention called ‘hockey’, that doesn’t require water! So, put on all the gear – snorkel, speedos, flippers – and you can practise the game that you love without the need for a swimming pool. You will also provide entertainment for your contact-starved neighbours, who might be required to sign an NDA after witnessing a training session, and who might require therapy depending mainly on how well the elastic in your speedos holds up. And who knows, the snorkel might even reduce the infection risk!
Have you read the books again? Because that seems a sensible first step. Otherwise, if you want to get in good with the people you live with, or you just really hate actively cleaning, why not just carry a broom around with you all the time? No one can see you and judge you, except for the people you live with, and they already know that you play Quidditch!
So there we have it: fun, safe games to pass the time and contain the boredom. I wonder if non-underwater hockey will ever find its way to the Olympics? And could it ever be as popular as women’s beach volleyball? Perhaps the alternative Boat Race is one that supporters could get involved with next year, when everything is back to normal…