Today we underwent our second full day of training here at Oliva Nova and it was another tough session for the squad, but one which we know is helping us get into the best shape possible for the new season.
There were a few stiff legs in the hotel when we woke up this morning! But we headed down to the dining room for breakfast at 8am before walking up to the training complex to get our first session underway.
As is the same with every session we started with pre-activation in the gym and then headed outside to get to work. We saw a lot of the footballs this morning and played some fun high intensity dribbling and tackling games to get our touch and timing up to speed, and that was followed by some keep-ball within a small area. The latter drill was a tough one as we'd keep-ball non-stop for 3-5 minutes then sprint to the other side of the pitch and immediately go into the same drill. But it was good fun and very competitive, which is a great sign.
It was warm yesterday but today felt even hotter but numerous drinks breaks throughout the session helped keep us hydrated. We then went on to the dreaded '6 second' runs which are a brutal but effective way of getting superb fitness levels.
This involved running to a section of cones and back within the 6 second time allowance, and we did 12 sets of 4 runs and my word we were feeling it by the end! All of the lads were encouraging each other throughout which really does help to keep you going and everyone managed to complete the run without having to sit out.
We then headed for the beach for a quick dip in the sea to cool down on the way back to our hotel and then we were straight in for lunch. The food has been fantastic so far which helps with recovery as the nutrition is important particularly at this stage of pre-season.
We then rested up ready for the second session which began at 6pm local time. This was another intense session as we broke up into teams of 3 and did some 7-aside games on half a pitch. This was another intense drill but it was good to get that competitive feeling back again and all the lads were fully focussed on trying to help their team win. It's a great sign when players get frustrated at their own mistakes in training and it just spurs you on to work harder and improve your next shot/pass/tackle.
We then had showers and ate dinner, which is when our initiation songs carried on. Yaser Kasim performed 'Golddigger' by Kanye West which got a mixed reception(!) with Sam Foley singing 'Suspicious Minds' by Elvis Presley. All of the new lads have now done their initiations and credit to them for getting up and doing it!