Driving into the training ground this morning everyone noticed that a full sized pitch was marked out. I was thinking "maybe we'll be playing a bit of football?" or "could we be doing some crossing and shooting exercises?".
Answer: NO, don't be stupid Clarkey. Its pre-season. Although, it was good to see Dermot, the masseur, back in this morning.
Ryan Guy was given the task of taking the warm-up today. He brought us for a jog and through a range of dynamic stretching.
When you see the Gaffer stretching, you know whats coming next. A fartlek run. The 20 minutes of interval running, at the Gaffers pace, that just knock you for six, and thats at the start of training.
It sounds easy enough when you're telling people about it but when the intervals get up to 90 seconds and your legs are starting to go you just want to be as far away from a fartlek run as possible.
After the fartlek, we had 5 minutes to stretch and have a drink. Then it was onto the ball work. We started with some control work with some short sharp drills thrown in for good measure. Passing was next and we had to control the ball with one foot and pass with the other.
We did a few variations of this before moving onto another drill which encouraged running with the ball. We kept doing this until the Gaffer was happy with the standard that he was seeing.
Back to running, and to be honest, this one was horrifying. It was a run, using the marked pitch, in the shape of an 'M'. Starting at one corner flag, we had to run down the length of the touchline, into the centre-spot, back out to the far corner flag and up the opposite touchline as fast as possible.
And if that wasn't tough enough just as you start the last stretch of the run, the wind hits you square in the face and the rain jacket you have on acts like a parachute. It feels like you're running up the 'Travelator' on Gladiators because you're legs are flying along but you're going nowhere fast.
That said, credit must go to Anthony Costigan who was using Dave Partridge as a wind-breaker and with 50 metres to go, would simply step to the side and kick on.
With 3 of the 'M' runs done the Gaffer took sympathy on us and told us to wrap it up at that. He told me to take the warm down and I took the lads for a walk with some light jogging and stretching in between.
With talk of pre-season friendlies coming up the lads will be looking to do everything to cement their place in the starting 11 come the first league game in March.
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