Learn new sport skills in Dubai

Get fit while re-learning those skills you may have lost


Summer’s over and the beach beckons, but weeks of sitting in front of the TV have taken their toll on your finely-carved physique. It’s time to get back into shape, but the thought of pulling on Lycra and heading for the gym makes you long for the days of 45°C heat and 98 per cent humidity. At least then you had an excuse to hole up on the couch.

If only you could do a workout that was fun and taught you new skills, then you’d definitely get back into shape, wouldn’t you? Ah, see, now you have no excuses – our old friends at Duplays have devised a way for you to do exactly that.

Sport Specific Training (SST) is a workout that centres on the fundamentals from a specific sport. So rather than lifting weights or doing stomach crunches while being barked at by an angry personal trainer, you can run, shoot, pass and dribble your way to fitness to emulate sports stars such as the Qatari national football team, or Melbourne Tigers basketball star Ronald Dorsey. Duplays’ new SST sessions in football, volleyball and basketball start this week: the classes, one a week for 10 weeks, are designed to re-teach sports skills you may not have used since high school, allowing you to get back into your favourite sport at a competitive level – or find a new favourite altogether.

‘SST has become popular in North America for people looking for fun workouts in a group setting with friends. Bootcamps hurt. Sports are fun,’ says Duplays co-founder Derv Rao. ‘The idea came from our members. Many people are interested in joining our leagues but are apprehensive because, as adults, they’ve not had the chance to play in many years. Children get the chance to learn in school, but adults don’t get the opportunity any more.’

Sessions consist of 30 minutes of technical training and 30 minutes of physical training. Technical training in basketball, for example, teaches skills such as lay-ups, posting up, spot-up shooting, fast-breaking and defence, while football includes dribbling, one-touch passing and shooting.

‘SST is for anyone, not just for people new to the sport,’ says Derv. ‘It’s also for people who used to play well and have lost their skills. It gives them the specific physical training for their sport, because they had the technical skills and know-how in their past. Our most frequently asked question is: “I haven’t played in years and I’m not that good. Can I still join?” By the end of the training, participants are confident about joining our leagues because they will have picked up all the necessary skills.’

And what can you do with these new-found skills? ‘Hopefully, Duplays leagues will give participants the avenue to apply the skills they have learned,’ explains Derv. ‘No point in taking Spanish lessons if you’re moving to Singapore…’
SST sessions are Dhs50 each, or Dhs400 for 10. Basketball Sun 7.30pm; football Mon 7.30pm, Dubai American Academy, Barsha. Volleyball Mon 7.30pm, Le Méridien Mina Seyahi. www.dubai.duplays.com (055 224 0187).

How to do a…

Lay-up (basketball)
For a right-handed lay-up on the right side of the hoop, jump off your left foot, stretch your right hand towards the basket and lay the ball softly off the corner of the inner black square on the back board, allowing it to drop into the hoop.

Chest pass (basketball)
Hold the ball close to your chest and spread your fingers around it. Take a step forward, extend your arms sharply as you push the ball towards a team-mate, snapping your wrists inwards. Point your fingers towards your target.

Volley (football)
Keep your eyes on the ball in the air, plant your non-kicking foot on the ground. Bring the kicking leg through with the leg slightly bent, toes pointing down and ankle firm. Strike the centre or top half of the ball with the instep and keep your head over the ball. Follow through.

Short pass (football)
Position your non-kicking foot close to the side of the ball. Use your arms for balance; keep your head still and eyes on the ball. Keeping your ankle firm, bring your kicking foot through and strike the centre of the ball (to keep it on the ground) with the side of the foot.

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