The AIHL ice hockey season was supposed to commence in April, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, CBR Brave players are unsure when they will return to the ice.
However, in lieu of no competitive action, the Battle of the Brave initiative was created by the team’s sports scientist and training expert Steven Hughes. In the challenge, the Brave squad will complete seven fitness challenges to raise money for charity.
Two weeks ago, the challenge began with players taking part in a push-up competition. In the coming weeks, the remaining challenges will include a 5km run; 5 x stair jump; handstand push-ups using a wall; a wall squat; modified seven-stage abdominal test; and 60-second burpees.
The challenge has been laid out in this format to target a range of athletic qualities, as well as being feasible for competition in isolation with minimal equipment required.
Brave players are relishing the opportunity to beat one another in these challenges, so while it is all for a good cause, expect their competitive nature to be in full swing.
Hughes explained it was important to create this fitness challenge to enable players to maintain a level of interaction and competition during current restrictions.
“The challenge has encouraged social interaction between players who cannot train together physically,” he said. “Mental wellbeing is a focus of CBR Brave and social connection while maintaining physical distancing is extremely important for maintaining mental health.”
With a start date for the 2020 AIHL campaign still unknown, it has been important for the playing group to keep up its fitness levels despite the lack of ice hockey action.
“To develop as an athlete, players need to juggle training and recovery to improve their speed, strength, power and endurance,” said Hughes. “Similarly to non-athletes, maintaining fitness through periods of reduced training is more effective than attempting to regain lost fitness in a short time period.
“Players have a limited amount of hours in a week to train and recover, which could lead to injury if athletes attempt to regain a large degree of lost fitness in a short period of time prior to the start of the AIHL season.”
CBR Brave gives an enormous amount of credit to Anytime Fitness, which has provided the team with a great service during the COVID-19 pandemic and now with these fitness challenges. The company has been a sponsor of the club since its inception in 2014.
As part of the initiative, a range of T-shirts are being sold with proceeds going to Menslink, one of the Brave’s charity partners.
Alex Zeitlhofer, manager, Anytime Fitness in Fyshwick, said his company is happy help in any way it can, and that includes assisting the Brave to gain an advantage when the AIHL season returns.
“We have been very limited in what we can do, and they have been limited in what they can do,” said Zeitlhofer. “They have a lot of local talent here who we are working with to ensure they are fit, ready and healthy to go when the season is rebooted so the team can be ready and on the front foot.”
CBR Brave CEO Dan Amodio acknowledged the team’s competitive nature in undertaking the charity fitness challenge, and its subsequent positive community impact.
“Once they figured out they would be competing against their teammates, that took it to the next level in their minds and they have started taking it seriously,” he said. “They are some of the most competitive athletes I have ever been around and they want to win anything you put in front of them.
“All professional sports teams have an obligation to give back to the community and we take that responsibility very seriously. In this particular instance, it was a no-brainer from us because Menslink has been a sponsor for a long time.
“It has been really hard on some of our athletes because playing for the Brave is a big part of their identity. So I can understand having that taken away at this time can be hard for some of them mentally.”