Steve Fletcher: AFC Bournemouth's busy summer
PUBLISHED: 10:34 13 October 2016 | UPDATED: 10:34 13 October 2016
As AFC Bournemouth legend Steve Fletcher reveals, the team have been busy over the summer months getting match ready for their second season in the Premier League
I’ve now joined the coaching staff at AFC Bournemouth as assistant 1st team coach. One of my first responsibilities in the new role was working alongside manager, Eddie Howe, assistant manager, Jason Tindall, 1st team coach Simon Weatherstone and Neil Moss the goal keeping coach, with pre-season training and warm-up matches.
Throughout the summer, all five of us have frequently commented about the revolution that has taken place in the level of preparation that goes into pre-season training compared to even four or five years ago.
Before our players left for their summer break in mid-May, they were given a schedule by the head of the sport science department which they have to stick to. The players know what’s right and wrong as far as diet and exercise; long gone are the days when they would come in half a stone overweight for the start of a pre-season session. The boys do get a few weeks where they can relax a bit, but they always have to be mindful of the fact that a certain level of fitness is required when they return to the club.
On July 2nd, their first day back in training, the players had a ‘test day’ to assess their fitness and I am delighted to say that not one player failed that test. This shows the high level of professionalism and commitment we have amongst our players. With the technology we now have available to us, our sports science department can measure, record and analyse every aspect of the players’ physical condition – from performance in training through to matches. All our players wear GPS devices, so from their heart rate to the distance they cover on the pitch during a game, we know exactly how well their bodies are performing and how fit they are. There’s no hiding these days!
This year our pre-season included a trip to the USA, this is the second summer in a row we have hopped over the pond. The club’s part-owner Matt Hulsizer is from Chicago and he wanted us to see his home city, which was a really great experience for all of us.
With a number of new players and staff having joined us over the summer, the trip was an important bonding experience. Being together night and day creates that camaraderie you need to be a proper team unit. As well as enjoying each other’s company and getting to go to some nice events together, we worked really hard. Our players often had treble training sessions and we played a friendly match against Minnesota United which we won 4–0 at the NSC Stadium in the Twin Cities.
We’ve done everything possible to make sure we are in the best shape for the challenge of this tough, unforgiving and brilliant Premier League.
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