I am pleased to say that pre-season training I progressing well. There is a steely focus amongst the athletes and coaching staff, as all are committed to adding the last piece of the puzzle – the piece that will see us lift silverware in 2012.
This phase of preparation is crucial – it lays the foundation for all that is to come and is work that you simply cannot do in competition phase.
Initially our focus is on pure athlete conditioning. Fitter, faster, stronger, better! Next we move on to a technical rugby phase. Everybody takes a step forward each year and if we want to stay ahead of the competition we need to tweak our systems and technical nous. We will spend time on fundamentals and on accuracy, ensuring a better prepared athlete and a better performing unit.
We are not just doing squad training but will also focus at an individual athlete level, ironing out any weaknesses and ensuring each player is the best that he can be.
Conditioning has been tough but the players are enjoying it. The larger squad is gelling well with the youngsters pushing the older guys. We expect our senior players to lead from the front. Youngsters must compete against the Boks and see just how fit they are and what is required to achieve at this level. Schalla in the 1.6km time trial showed up a few of the youngsters almost lapping a couple! That said the youngsters continue to push hard with the Kitshoff's posting very respectable 180kg bench presses.
New comers Joe Pietersen, Gerhard Van Den Heever and Burton Francis have all fitted in well. It is always good to hear feedback from new players, as to them being impressed with how we do things.
Everyone is shoulder to wheel at the moment. Competition for spots is going to be tough and everybody knows it. Crucially the determination is there as well. Here is to putting that last piece of the puzzle in place this season!