Craig Sedgwick told me that after a few times up the steep hill from the football pitch back to the hotel it would feel easier and I would feel better for it. Well I’m still waiting to feel that effect. For the players it must be a hard long walk back after a tough training session.
This morning featured a three station workout that put the players through their paces as well as working on various aspects of their game. They are fast paced with short recovery times before they continue the rotation. There’s no doubt it is energy-sapping and they are definitely giving 100%, in fact I could see the evidence of that on the computer in front of me that tracks each players’ work rate and speed of recovery. It’s interesting just to see on screen how fast these athletes can go from maximum output to recovering in time to go again. All aspects of their fitness as well as footballing ability is taken into account to ensure the best can be achieved.
The manager, casting a keen eye over the proceedings, has to balance pushing the players with making sure they don’t go too far and max out or suffer an injury. Apart from the visual signs of how a player is coping they have the benefit of real time computer analysis that can give a fully rounded out picture of each individuals progress.
The evening session was similar to yesterday’s with a 11 v 11 match played at a fast tempo. It gives a chance for the coaching staff to see how the squad is developing and how the other sessions are affecting their play in a match situation.
Apart from the actual sessions there is pre- and post-session work being done. As Paul Digby mentioned in his interview he has about an hours worth of exercises to go through before and after the session to make sure he remains free of the injury that kept him out last season. Craig Sedgwick and John Lucas work on massages before and after sessions as well as tending to minor issues and pool sessions help ensure the muscles recover quickly.
Once it hits 9pm you will be hard pressed to see any players around the hotel. They’re all in bed, they simply have no more energy left and a good night’s sleep is vital before it all starts again. David Flitcroft said the hardest days are still to come! It’s a tough week, but the rewards for their hard work now will come when the season starts.