England Rugby head coach Eddie Jones raised eyebrows when he sent his World Cup-bound squad on a lifeguard course in Cornwall.
The surprise excursion came as the Australian attempted to freshen up preparations for the tournament in Japan.
Here, PA takes a look at some of the unusual training methods coaches and athletes have used in pursuit of success.
Lions and unicorns
England’s footballers took to the pool after launching their 2018 World Cup finals campaign in Russia with a last-gasp win over Tunisia. Midfielder Jesse Lingard posted photographs of himself and several team-mates racing on inflatable unicorns with manager Gareth Southgate keen to keep spirits high for what proved to be an extended campaign.
Sweating it out
Warren Gatland and his coaching team found a simple way to try to acclimatise the Wales rugby squad to the heat of Washington DC as they prepared to meet South Africa at the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium. The players trained wearing bin bags over their kit in an attempt to replicate average daily temperatures of 84 degrees fahrenheit, 29 celsius – and went on to win a tight game 22-20.
A lot of bottle
Australia opening batsman Matt Renshaw revealed coach Justin Langer’s innovative method to ready him for the challenge of facing Pakistan’s spinners in Dubai in 2018. Langer placed bowling markers and empty plastic water bottles in areas where rough might appear on a fifth-day pitch in the nets in an attempt to reproduce the testing conditions under which he might have to bat.
Ukrainian boxer Vasyl Lomachenko was banned from the sport by his father for four years and sent to dance classes to improve his footwork, and he continues to employ unorthodox methods in training. The WBA and WBO lightweight champion, who comprehensively defeated Briton Anthony Crolla in April, was taught to juggle and do handstands by his gymnast mother and uses both to hone his concentration when under physical and mental stress.
Sting in the tail
Then Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy decided to use the North Sea as an ice bath for his players after a training session on Seaburn beach in August 2004, although the ploy was to backfire when Argentinian midfielder Julio Arca was stung by a jellyfish and had an allergic reaction. Arca’s day took a further turn for the worse when it was suggested that acid in urine might ease the pain, although he made a full recovery and went on to help the Black Cats to win the Championship title at the end of the season.
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