The national lockdown and social distancing has not stopped basketball coach Relton Booysen, 39, from Goodwood, from keeping his players in shape and informed about the Covid-19 pandemic.
Booysen was drawn to coaching while at Heidveld Basketball Club and at the time the club didn’t have a coach.
The intrepid coach has been in love with the sport ever since Michael Jordan dominated the scene in the 90s, having led the Chicago Bulls to 6 NBA Championship titles between 1991 and 1998.
Booysen, originally from Tafelsig, in Mitchell’s Plain, grew up in the Eastern Cape and earned a sports bursary to study at Stellenbosch.
Although equally passionate about hockey and cricket, he prefers shooting hoops and has been involved with various basketball clubs and development initiatives to promote the game across the city for a number of years.
A firm believer in the importance of a good education, Booysen, who also spent time at UCT and Nelson Mandela University, says he always tries to encourage his players to work hard on and off the court and focus on their books and ball skills.
“I’m passionate about basketball and started SID Basketball four years ago to make an impact on communities on the Cape Flats. SID stands for Skills and IQ development,” he said.
“Hard work equals success and sport is a gateway to success in life. It teaches one discipline and team work. Due to sporting opportunities, I got my first degree,” he said.
With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to all games being called off, the coach, like many sports fans, had to resort to watching reruns of past games from the comfort of his living room.
But he’s no couch potato and not inclined to sit still for long. With a little bit of help from modern technology, he quickly devised a plan to keep club members on their toes during the lockdown period.
More importantly, he also created a platform to keep them informed on details regarding the spread of the coronavirus.
“Covid-19 is real, it’s in South Africa, it’s in Cape Town, it’s all over the world. Players can’t play, they can’t train. So, what do we do at home?” he said.
With the possibilities presented by modern technology, he developed an app that tracks the latest statistic on the coronavirus. “Because of Covid-19,” he said, “we came up with an app called The Eye where basketball players and anybody in South Africa can track the day-to-day stats of Covid in their provinces.”
As far as making sure his players stay fit and game ready once the season resumes, he presented what he call his 21-day fitness challenge.
“We came up with exercises that you can do in a small space.What it involves is doing 21 situps, 21 pushups and so on. So, they must continue to work hard and stay safe,” he said.
Visit the official goverment Covid-19 resource website coronavirus.datafree.co or theeyeapp.co.za