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Captain’s Log – Reflecting on the Vulcans 19/20 Performance

Ahead of our upcoming Birthday Social taking place at Sheffield Tigers RUFC on Saturday 22nd August our Captain, Innes MacLeod, has taken a moment to reflect on what has happened since he released his start of the season blog.

I wrote a blog at the start of the season where I set out our hopes for the year ahead. My focus was on looking at the small victories. We are a young club and, though we are ambitious, we know that growing to be the successful team we know we can be is no small task. It requires work and dedication. When I wrote that blog I was looking back to the previous season which was undoubtedly a season of small victories. We had grown in numbers, improved in skill and were building confidence but that didn’t always translate to success on the pitch. It seemed appropriate to focus and be proud on what we had achieved and to build on those small victories.

What I didn’t expect was what this season would bring. Though it was tragically cut short the previous year was the Vulcans most successful ever. We went from a solitary win the year before to winning the majority of our games. We won our first away game and broke too many club scoring records to count. The leap we made was astronomical. At the beginning of this season we were a development team by the end of it we were something more.

This wasn’t just a year of wins on the field but success off of it as well. The Halloween and Pride parties we hosted were our biggest ever social events and were an absolute blast. Our membership has continued to grow strongly. Most importantly we have gone from training on a public park to having the excellent facilities of the Sheffield Tigers, a relationship we hope to grow in the coming year.

To look back at the blog I wrote I see now I was maybe more cautious than I had a right to be. If I had looked around me I would have seen the foundation of the season to come. From our committee who have worked to continue our growing strength, our coaches whose patience helped us develop, to our players and members who give so much to this club. It’s the people that make a team and we have some pretty great people around.

The coming year will present significant challenges. It’s unclear when we can play the sport we love again. I look around at this team though and know that we have it in us to take on the challenges that lie ahead. My next blog won’t be so cautious.

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How We’re Maintaining Fitness During Lockdown

Since the lockdown began the Sheffield Vulcans have had plenty of downtime since the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic sunk its nails deep into the flesh of this planet. Not only were our Tuesday night training sessions suspended indefinitely, but the government only allowed us to leave our homes once a day initially, restricting the amount of exercise we could do outside of our homes.

Thankfully, this didn’t stop the Vulcans from working on our fitness. Every Tuesday for the past nine weeks we’ve been taking part in remote HIIT sessions delivered by the fantastic Analise Moran from Moran Personal Training. Taking to our bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms and gardens, we’ve been squatting, planking, and becoming sweaty messes with the goal of maintaining our fitness.

In addition to this our very own Liam Goodwin came up with a solution to keep the team engaged between HIIT sessions by using Strava, a popular fitness tracking app. Liam noticed that a few of the team were already on there tracking workouts during lockdown in an effort to remain active and sane. Other rugby and sports clubs had set themselves up on Strava and we thought it was a great idea, so got Sheffield Vulcans set-up and encouraged the team to get involved in weekly distance challenges.

The first week had a positive response with roughly half of the club signing up to take on 100km, which we had exceeded by Wednesday. As a result the target was doubled, and by the end of the week the team flew past the revised target with an incredible distance of 287km. This was mirrored by the results of the second week which saw the Vulcans smash the 300km target with 433km in total.

During this time Liam saw a growth in interest amongst the team thanks in part to the weekly leader board and results, adding friendly competition into the mix. Some eager beavers have been getting out multiple times a day with an eye on the top three spots, whilst others are happy doing their own thing pushing themselves individually. Being an inclusive team consisting of people of all ages and ability, we ensured the challenge allowed members to walk, run or cycle any distance they felt comfortable with. Furthermore, the challenge has provided the perfect opportunity for some of our Vulcans to spend time with one another (within government guidelines of course).

Recently, we’ve celebrated our third weekly result and managed to complete a collective distance of 602.31km, which is the equivalent of running from Plymouth to Middlesbrough. Each week the target grows, and we’ve now added an extra mini-challenge for all members to complete a minimum 10km distance across the week.

On reflection, we can’t thank Liam and Analise enough keeping us Vulcans engaged and motivated to keep our fitness up. The benefits of taking on these challenges have helped us to work together, motivate one another, and ultimately bring us closer together as a team even though we’re physically far apart. We know one day the lockdown will end and we will all return to Sheffield Tigers to continue our training ready for next season. Until then, the team will continue to support one another and smash our weekly targets.