Chesterfield fitness and conditioning coach Gareth Piper, says that despite a tough opening to their pre-season training, the Spireites players are in good condition heading into the new season.
As well as doing lots of work on the training ground in the gym, the players have also played in four-season friendlies, with each one representing a step up in physicality, which is set to continue over the coming weeks.
Piper said: “They’re right where the manager wants them to be, they’ve had four 45-minute games which have progressively got harder – especially the game with Benfica B, which was considerably harder in terms of distance covered.
“So, we know that in Saturday’s game with Middlesbrough, the manager is looking to increase the playing time so that he can get people ready for the start of the season.
“We’re happy with where the players are now.”
The fitness levels of the players are even more impressive when you consider how warm the conditions have been on the continent, with temperatures exceeding 30°c, meaning that staying hydrated is essential.
“It’s just a case of trying to drip-feed and educate the players, every day at breakfast there’s always waters and juices on the table,” explained Piper.
“There’s regular breaks so it’s a case of keeping on top of that and having a good relationship with those players.”
As is the case with most sports, training sessions are more monitored than ever before, with sports science and the data obtained from them playing a big role in determining the number and level of sessions that are put on each day.
Piper added: “You can make it hard for yourself by collecting too much information and not using it.
“We’ve got a GPS unit at the club – which is unbelievable for a League Two club – and we try and utilise that system as best as we can.
“The manager only needs certain bits from that, so we know we can influence and change training once we have that information.”