Friday, 15 July 2016

The Total Flanker Guide to: Pre-Season Training

At this time of year many a rugby club begins summoning its players back for what is known as “pre-season training” but what is in reality an exercise in sado-masochistic torment on a grand scale.

So, first things first, let me get my admission out of the way that it’s a few years since I have had to subject myself to pre-season training. I see that as no reason however, for me not to proffer my advice on the subject, having experienced/endured its torture on many, many occasions in the past.

Actually I can hardly believe I've waited until now to publish this guide, but here it is - Total Flanker's top tips on how one might survive what may only be described as hell on earth.

1. Always, always attend the first session. Yes, it will be horrible. Yes, it will hurt. But believe me, if there is one session in which the coaches might be tempted to go a little easier on the players it’s the first one. After that it only gets worse. If you’re going to miss a session, choose the second one.

2. The jury is out on how much training you should do before pre-season starts. None at all means that it will really, really hurt and the coaches may well decide to make an example of you. Too much, however, and the coaches may be tempted to push you even harder. Do just enough, therefore, not to get noticed.

3. At the beginning of training grab a ball, organise a game of touch and encourage the coaches to join in. You never know, they may enjoy themselves so much that they forget to get started on the planned infliction of pain. Not guaranteed to work but worth a try.

4. If subjected to the dreaded "beep test" or whatever the modern equivalent may be, don’t be a hero. There’s nothing big or clever about being there at the end – they’ll only expect more from you next time.

5. There's nothing shameful about an early, tactical vomit.

6. Judicious use of injuries is advised. Time spent with the physio is time spent away from the training field.

7. Always, always stick around for a couple of drinks afterwards. The fact that you're still there after training will have a subliminal effect on the coaches, no matter how crap you were during training.

8. If all else fails, take a leaf out of Andy Goode's book - retire from rugby then make a miraculous comeback mid-season.

There, hope that helps…

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