The players were out on the pitch by 9am this morning in readiness for a tough morning session. John Lucas took the squad through a warm-up session while Steele and Alnwick were guided by Ian Willcock in a separate warm-up routine.
With the warm-ups complete the majority of the morning session had the players split into four teams to play some high intensity 6-a-side matches in a quarter pitch space. It’s a fast paced session with short matches punctuated by short runs before resuming the match. The ability to recover quickly after bursts of activity is a key factor between these mini games.
From my point of view on the sidelines it’s a very intense session and really tests the players’ strength and fitness as well as the obvious work on game play and being able to think and act quickly. The morning session was completed with some strength and conditioning routines before the players made the steep walk uphill to the hotel for a cool down session in the swimming pool which is perfect to help the muscles after a tough workout. Fortunately for me I timed my departure just right and caught a lift back in the hotel minibus.
After lunch there was some down time for the players to get some recovery and treatments and general rest ahead of the late afternoon session. Without proper recovery each session would not be as productive so no energy is wasted in between the scheduled sessions.
Every session begins with a warm-up routine for obvious reasons. The main focus this afternoon was an 11 v 11 match which was played at a high tempo and split into three timed sections with a recovery period between each one. There was plenty of competitive action and Dale Jennings enjoyed scoring a good goal.
With the close of the session comes the packing up of all the equipment before heading back to the hotel and unfortunately the timing wasn’t as good as this morning and the steep walk felt a lot harder than yesterday which might point to me needing some pre-season training.
There’s a real buoyant mood amongst the players despite the fact by the end of the evening they are very tired. It looked a hard enough day today, but I’m told there are tougher sessions to come.
There’s only a month to go before the season kicks off against Wigan Athletic so this is an invaluable week for the players, the coaching staff and manager in their preparations and no one is leaving anything to chance.
For Barnsley Player subscribers there will be a host of player interviews available to watch on Tuesday.