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Profile: Sean Boret, Strength and Conditioning Professional

Profile: Sean Boret, Strength and Conditioning Professional

With schools, gyms and sports centres closed nationwide, many have been left asking how they should best keep fit and healthy. It is more important than ever to take good care of yourself. Press Officer Jakub Biszczanik interviewed Mr Boret to get to learn more about keeping fit and healthy during lockdown. Mr Boret also explained how the Athlete Development Programme (ADP) normally functions, as well as his background in fitness.

How does the ADP normally function when school is open?

During term time the ADP is open to boys each afternoon during sports and co-curricular time. We encourage boys to come and investigate the gym irrelevant of whether they consider themselves a sportsman or not, with the aim of engaging them in an activity that will help with their health, fitness and performance. I am pleased to see that interest in the ADP continues to grow with more than a third of boys now using the space each term.

What is the ethos of the ADP?

It is interesting to see how the ADP has developed over the past few years. Initially we ran sessions for specific age groups and sports, dictating the programme and exercises. Although this approach was effective to a point, it didn’t take account of the diverse needs within a mixed ability group. Over time, we have built the confidence to treat boys as individuals and help them learn about their own needs and how to improve. I now love to step back and watch the place in action on a busy afternoon where we can see a real mix of age groups and abilities, self-directed training, boys coaching boys, and some very impressive performances going on. As the ADP continues to grow in popularity, I am looking to see the boys take an even greater role in its operation.

Can you tell us more about your experience with sport and fitness?

Sport and exercise have been the mainstay of my life, although perhaps not the most traditional of paths. I was brought up in the paddocks of race circuits with my father racing sidecars on Grand Prix circuits and the Isle of Man. He also rode Enduro bikes, so I was introduced to riding motorbikes aged 4 or 5 years old. I never competed on a bike, but it certainly took up my weekends when my school friends might be playing football. Consequently, I never kept up with the more mainstream sports and found myself involved in other activities like gymnastics and judo. By the age of 9 I started sailing and as a teenager I sailed for Great Britain at both European and World level. During my last few years of school I rowed, which was really the time that I was formally introduced to the gym. I found that I was actually far better at lifting weights than I was at rowing; something to do with my shorter levers! So I have now been training and working in gyms for over 30 years. Outside of the gym I still look forward to the opportunities to go snowboarding or wakeboarding and love to be out in the mountains or on the water.

How has Eton encouraged boys to keep fit during lockdown?

When school’s normally open, boys turn up, do their sport and that’s that. Here though, the situation’s a bit different. We can’t make boys engage in sport, so instead we’re just trying to provide a framework from which they can build upon. We’re providing resources, videos and competitions which boys can participate in if they so wish. We’re also now trying to organise house meetings where we discuss with boys what they’ve been up to and keep track of their progress.

What can you personally recommend for anyone looking to stay fit during lockdown?

Just do what you enjoy. That’s the most important thing – take this opportunity to pursue your own passions and do more of what you love.

Can you tell us more about the movement skills workshop you recently established?

We are always thinking of new ways to encourage boys to come and see what we do in the ADP. The movement skills workshop was another spin on that theme, working on interesting skills from callisthenics like bar and ring muscle-ups, handstands and human flags. These skills take time to develop and require good flexibility, strength and body-awareness, worthwhile attributes for anyone to develop. We also do yoga and other forms of relaxation on some evenings; we have had boys reporting “the best night of sleep in their lives” after these sessions!

How does the ADP, and the school, try to encourage healthy sleeping and eating?

I think that boys know what healthy eating and good sleep habits should look like, however many undervalue their importance, or understand their impact, and hence make poor choices. Behind the scenes there are so many people invested in helping boys learn these key life skills. I aim to help reinforce the good work that is done on a daily basis by House Masters and Dames, the Medical Centre and the Stephenson Centre for Wellbeing, PE, sports and the PSHE programme, as well as the catering staff (both in-house and in Bekynton). We do our best for the entire five years of a boy’s time at school to share this information in a positive manner.


DATE POSTED: 12 June 2020
2020Parents & Pupils

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