No Such Thing As Friendlies - 4th March 2013
Friendlies? What Friendlies?
Pre-season training was basically done, in terms of actual practice. I felt a massive improvement in that aspect and I felt as if I'd got rid of the so called rusty touch and my movement was feeling more natural as time went by. But, as anybody who plays football or even sport will know, there is a huge difference between feeling good in training and taking an active part in a match, even if it was a friendly.
Although I felt good in training, I knew playing games would be a massive task. I had no idea how my muscles would react and how quickly I would get tired, I wasn't really aware of some of the new players in the squad either so my usual position of centre forward was in question too. Saying that, my first game back involved me playing right midfield. I was up for the task mentally, it would really be the ultimate fitness test playing on the wing and I knew realistically I wouldn't last anywhere near 90 minutes, I'd probably be lucky to last 45 minutes in truth.
After playing the first half, I felt severe tightness in my hamstring and calf, on my operated leg of course, so I asked to be taken off. This was the last thing I wanted but it was the sensible option, I didn't fancy another lay off and people reminded me, it was only a friendly after all, so nothing was lost, only an improvement of my fitness. I managed to end up scoring 2 in 4 over the pre-season which I was more than happy with, especially seen as I hardly played in my favoured centre forward position.
Looking back on pre-season, the week before the season officially started, I was happy with my progress to be honest. I hadn't suffered any major setback or any other injury to prevent me from playing in fact. My ankles did feel weaker than usual but this was something I expected, along with extremely sore legs after each game but I gradually started getting back into the flow of things and could feel as well as see the physical progression I was making.
Far Left, Still Managing To Play With A Smile!
All 4 of the friendlies were played on a 3G surface, which to me is far easier to run on than grass. The season was approaching and I felt I had done all the work I could without straining myself and apart from being overweight, I was happy with how I felt. I knew that the weight would gradually drop off as I played more minutes so along with the Saturday games, I continued the training on Tuesday nights and played 5-a-side on Wednesday nights so I was always developing myself and constantly improving my fitness.
For the first time since I started playing football competitively when I was 3 years old, I was happy to play 45 minutes, rather than being annoyed at being pulled off before full time. I had to be realistic and as long as the team were winning I was happy! :)
First Assist Of The Season In A 6-0 Win