In recent weeks I have been asked as a “regular” spectator and sometime commentator on the ups and downs of the club what is it with pre-season training. Surely the players keep themselves in shape during the off-season and their bodies heal in time to start another demanding campaign. Well this simulates as usual much interesting thoughts which I have tried to collate into a few frequently asked questions around pre-season training. After all everyone needs to train and keep their focus or check that their random haphazard approach is still working.
Firstly you cannot beat the hum of a club that has things going on, the Saturday matches and the Sunday Junior sessions are a tonic so when the club is empty it really confirms that it is the people, players and supporters that constitute the heartbeat of the club rather than the bricks and mortar. Pre-season is a time to re-group, re-charge and catch up. There are of course the club stalwarts, with legends thrown into the mix plus new signings but also the return of players who study away during the year and the step up in age for all of our youth and senior Colt players. The step up is not to be underestimated as many a good junior player has found the leap to senior rugby or to another age group daunting, however like all things if it was easy then everyone would be doing it. It’s not easy but is just another challenge, but the support of the team, your coaches, supporters and the club are there to help you. Development is constant and the opportunities are endless.
Pre-season training is a test, it is physical but is also mental. You are not racing against anyone else, you may struggle to be the fastest or the strongest but it is yourself you are trying to build. Doing any of the pre-season sessions is an achievement I doff my cap to you all. For some turning up to train around established players and club regulars will be enough, to get through it may be enough, to do one more rep will be enough, to get round the block will be enough, to make it to the showers may be enough. However can you do one more rep, can you keep going, and can you do more than last year or last week. We all have personal targets that we set, I hope that you pass them and see how much more you may be capable of.
Being classed as officially old, which will come as a surprise to those who know me is not a get out of jail card. So if like me your body aches, the knees are sore, the lungs gasp for breath and the heart pounds so that you can feel it and then you have to get out of the car to walk into the changing rooms to get ready there is still something for you. Take it easy but do something, you may find that you feel much better after it and the sense of achievement is massive.
As a trend setter at the cutting edge of fashion the time has come to look at what to wear and the options are endless. As it is summer, the “suns out, guns out” mentality is on show if you have the body to back it up. I know that talks are in process regarding a kit sponsor and I have raised the option of a training top with blow up muscles just so we can all fit in. I would suggest something that is comfortable to lessen chaffing and in view of global warming a quite light breathable layer. I also prefer something quite stretchy that holds all of the various bits in place. There will be a range of athletic supports, tights, pop socks, replica kit, mismatched socks, county kit and various “I’ve been to Ibiza” shorts on show, its personal choice.
The club can use a selection of the on-site and local opportunities to provide quite a mix of training options. The outside gym has been a welcome addition and provides another set of challenges with things to lift, push, pull and spin (sorry for the technical details). There are the Seaton dunes run and the Castle Eden steps as well as various bridges to sprint up and down. The AGP then comes into its own for circuits and coat hangers with a rugby ball making an appearance at some stage. Quite a combination and not to be taken lightly but something for everyone.
So to help with the mental wellbeing that you require music has always been seen as an indicator of one’s mood. Gym sessions and workout routines have a lively soundtrack to help the body get in rhythm and the mind to focus, as people turn up to train the earphones go in and the treadmill gets turned on. As pre-season is a bit different with the support across the groups being exchanged and if you can, the usual chat as you jog around the pitch so to insulate yourself with headphones would not be within the teamwork ethic. However there may be some times when the sound system appears or there is always the journey to/from the club to get in the mood. Music is very personal but here are some personal favorite tunes to enliven the muscles –
Galvanize – The Chemical Brothers, Jive talking – Bee Gees, She bangs the drums – The stone Roses, Push it – Salt n Pepa, Cochise – Audioslave, Club Foot – Kasabian, The Logical Song – Supertramp and that’s only side one of the tape.
So after all the hard work you need to recover and usually the shower is the best part of the night after putting the work in. I can confirm in a consumer test performed over the last couple of months a foaming shower gel is the best performer. Also despite all the adverts the use of Lynx should be confined to the junior age groups, if you are wandered through the ground floor and wonder what is that incense like fragrance drifting on the breeze it’s a mix of pagan man/all spice/blue stratus/Hai Karate. Then refreshment can be taken in the bar area, remembering the dress code and the uniform of sliders post training. For all who like to watch the players train, sweat and put the work in, you can pop upstairs and grab a coffee(a range of refreshments is available), it’s all supporting the club.
Good to see the usual crowd on the nights I manage to appear. Maintain positive mental and physical fitness everyone, the season awaits.
“The struggle you are in today is developing the strength will need for tomorrow.”
An innocent bystander.