What it's like... In pre-season training

Travis Dodd talks about how training has changed since his days in the NSL.

Perth Glory midfielder Travis Dodd talks about how pre-season training has changed since his days back in the NSL.

“I was talking to some kids about this recently. I started when I was 16 in 1996 with Adelaide city and I remember it was a lot of old school training.

"We-d rock up, split up into groups and we-d be running around the streets of Adelaide with our fitness trainer on a bike, with timed run through the streets.

“There was certainly no science or anything; the thought was just getting the kilometres into the legs and that-s how you got fit. No GPS, heart rates or player wellbeing checks.

“It-s chalk and cheese compared to today. We come in in the mornings now and we-ve got all our vitamins and supplements we need to take every morning, we have to do our player wellbeing - stress, fatigue, muscle performance - and then even when you-re training you-ve got the GPS and heart rate monitors, which give live feeds to our conditions coaches, and they can pass them onto the coach to see if we-re working hard enough, if we need to do a bit more after the session.

“And after training in recovery, the ice baths and all the facilities we have are fantastic, video analysis as well - I don-t think I did that for about the first six years of my career.

“Pre-season training is always dreaded, especially now. Last year we did five months pre-season and this year it-s been 16 weeks or something.

“When I first started it-s just the thrill of being in that environment and around great players. You-re eager and you want to get in there and learn and do everything you can.

"But when you get a bit older you know your body a lot better, you know when to push yourself and when to back off. You become a lot smarter in training and the workload you put yourself through.

“We do testing at the start of each year and they go through any potential problem areas that might come up. From that we-ve got individual rehab programs that we need to do in the gym.

"I-ve had a couple of soft tissue calf injuries of the last couple of years, so it-s important that I try to stay on top of that, and the hamstrings to make sure I don-t have any problems this season.

“The best trainers were probably in Newcastle back in the day when I was 19-20 - Mark Wilson and Eddie Roberts. I think they were built for that type of long distance training; they just seemed to run all day. The worst...? Geez... I wouldn-t say myself... I-ll say Ange Constanzo. He liked to have a good whinge in pre-season...

“Each coach has their own style and how they want you to get fit. With Fergie and our strength and condition coach warren, it-s a combination.

“The way pre-season has come along, it-s a lot more football orientated and player specific. We still do our running but it-s more specialised to my position. The fullbacks will do running for the position, but mine requires a lot of short repeated sprint so that-s the type of running I do, and then there-s small sided games.

“The way the game has developed over the years it-s been a natural thing for coaches to implement more football-based pre-season training.”


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