With pools closed for much of 2020, Do3 lost its core business of coaching swim squads. Keeping athletes engaged with a whole variety of activities, both sporting and social was key to keeping them motivated and healthy through a very challenging year.
Ordinarily swim squads would run 6 days a week in Stratford and beyond. Athletes who come to the squads have become very close friends over the years, so with them stopping, athletes were at risk of not only losing their training routine but their social network too.
Dave Knight, head coach at Do3, put plenty in place to ensure Do3's 200+ athletes were kept engaged and motivated.
In lockdown 1, Do3 started:
- Daily online bike training sessions at the time swim squads would normally be, and weekly virtual bike races on Zwift. Meeting on Zoom, most athletes were following Dave's free training plans on the bike, but others joined on runs, dog walks and even training in their paddling pools! Athletes who had previously never met have become great friends through these morning sessions, and the races kept their competitive natures satisfied.
- Compton Verney Open Water Swimming, which attracted over 500 individuals and were fully booked from the start in July until the end of the season. Many were completely new to open water swimming but Dave and the team made everyone feel so welcome and safe. The Facebook group had over 1000 members within its first month and is full of positive comments about how the new venture helped people physically and mentally through lockdown. There were probably an equal number of swimmers who were training hard, to those who were having a chatty social swim. All got out with smiles on their faces!
- Weekly virtual coffee mornings to keep Do3 members connected socially
- Live online Q&A sessions with coaches, specialists and guests
- A YouTube channel with morning briefings to keep athletes informed on developments, training sessions, tutorials, kit buyers' guides etc
- Weekly Strava league tables and athlete of the week awards, recognising not only those who had done the most training, but those who had achieved great individual sessions, overcome barriers, or just had a great attitude
In lockdown 2, Do3:
- developed a new specialist athlete facility in Kineton for future group workshops, individual athlete assessments and training. The centre is equipped with high quality treadmill, bike trainer and ergonomic swim trainer, enabling all aspects of athletes' training and technique to be assessed and improved with tailored programs. The facility will also give athletes access to VO2 max, resting metabolic rate and body composition testing, along with gait analysis, injury prevention and rehab from a resident physiotherapist, and access to a performance nutritionist.
- in lieu of a Christmas ‘do', created a team challenge which could be done in ‘Covid secure' groups outside, or individually to contribute to the team result; including scavenger hunts, mental challenges, Strava segments, photo challenges, Strava art, home workouts etc.