AFL Hall of Fame legend Kevin Sheedy has urged country senior and junior footballers to use their enforced lay-off from the game as a way to improve their skills.
Sheedy said the delayed start to the 2020 season because of coronavirus concerns gave footballers an opportunity to "turn a negative into a positive".
"Work on your skills, particularly on your non-preferred side,'' Sheedy said.
"You've got months to become the most skillful player you've ever been.
"Why waste that three months. Turn a negative into a positive.
"Get outside and work on handballs, kicks and touches.
"Become a better one grab player, improve your kicking and handballing."
While national service and the threat of coronavirus is not comparing apples with apples, Sheedy said the situation footballers were in now was similar to something he experienced with his football when he was just 21.
Sheedy had two years of compulsory army service between 1969 and 1971.
He said being away from the Richmond Football Club for training was tough, but that two-year period turned him into a more skilled footballer.
"In 1969 I was runner-up in the best and fairest to Royce Hart in a premiership year,'' he said.
"On the Saturday we won the flag and on the Monday I was in the army.
"I couldn't train at Punt Road with the Tigers and people at the club asked me how was I going to become a better player.
"I said "just watch me" and that's what I did.
"When I was in the army for two years my skills improved enormously.
"I worked a lot on kicking and handballing with the non-preferred side of my body and it definitely helped me become a better player.
"After that two-year stint in the army I was a better footballer and I played in two or three more grand finals."
Sheedy made his name in the VFL as a dour back pocket player, but later in his career moved into the midfield.
"At Puckapunyal I dragged a couple of old digger mates with me out to the oval and they stood behind the goals while I practiced goal kicking,'' he said.
"They'd get the ball back for me. After that I kicked eight goals in grand finals once I moved out of the back pocket.
"I became a good kick for goal just through working on my skills.
"No-one likes what we're going through as a society, so if you can find something to keep your mind occupied, and give yourself something to improve on, it might just help get you through."
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