Gaffers review of pre season so far....
COVID has affected the start to pre season training and how the team can prepare but Jacko has ensured high quality sessions while keeping socially distant. “Obviously lockdown meant no football but as soon as we were allowed we were beginning socially distanced training in small training bubbles of 6. A lot of distanced drills to begin with but with today’s announcement from the FA we will finally be able to get back to some sort of normality with larger training sessions, full contact drills and the prospect of pre-season friendlies from the 1st August. Our players will each buying their own kit to enable them to arrive to matches fully changed and ready to go, our equipment will be sanitised at every break in play and the squad and our fans will socially distance during breaks to – basically we’ll do everything the FA say to guarantee a return to football!“
It’s taken a toll this virus on us all but squad morale and togetherness have been important during these testing times says the gaffer. “The lockdown was hard on everyone but as a club we found ways to deal with the isolation. The club invested in Zoom to allow for weekly drinks sessions when we’d usually play football, daily circuit sessions, pub quizzes and poker nights. A massive shout out to Harry Cooper, Social Media Officer and Web Master, for planning, organising and running not one but TWO FIFA20 tournaments. He also did really well to continue social media engagement with club interviews and competitions. Out of lockdown, we’ve resumed training and even a couple of drinking sessions in bubble in parks and pubs once they re-opened. All of these things individually seem perhaps a bit run of the mill, but added together they did the world of good to maintain those team bonds, build even stronger friendships and most importantly stay healthy – emotionally, mentally and physically. This is what I’m happy with, and I hope that will give us an edge in the forthcoming season as we have maintained fitness and bonds that other teams may have lost.”
3)Jacko has seen encouraging signs in pre season with commitment and hard work being done over zoom calls. “Squad improvement is tough during lockdown but we’ve managed to get some new triallists down in bubbles and see what they’re like. We’ve obviously also seen a number of returning faces who were with us last season too. Everyone has been working hard on their fitness and even harder in the drills we’ve managed to do. I’ve seen some really promising young triallists and really happy with the way some of last season’s players have been training too. Really good signs and I’m feeling very optimistic about the new season – I can’t wait for it to start.”
A hard first season at Barnes how are you going to adapt. “There is turnover in players, comings and goings as with any club. There will be far more competition for spaces so players will be pushing themselves to make sure they are in contention for selection for match days. Training sessions will change, with more structure – progressive drills with an objective of focussing on passing football will be our focus in the short term. I spotted a lot of things I want to fix and work on in video analysis and from looking at training, there are other bits to build on too. Behind the scenes, full season membership fees, individual player kit, warm up/downs, social media and website improvements will all help contribute to the feeling the club is moving forwards and looking to better itself on all fronts, not solely on the pitch.”
There’s been a lot of focus in pre season in certain areas and Jacko hoped this will help his side steer in the right direction. “Pre-season will include a couple of in-house friendlies if possible to test the new triallists and trial formations and playing partnerships. We’ll then move forwards to playing a pre-season fixture list against opposition that I hope will be challenging but certainly beatable teams. It’s all designed to give us an idea of where we are and what we need to really improve on whilst eyeing up the competition in our league ahead of the 20/21 season. By the end of pre-season I’m confident not only will we be in great physical shape but also in a great place in terms of playing style, ability and I’m aiming to have”