The Brockhall Diary

The Blues were approached by Blackburn Rovers with an offer of swapping training facilities for a week - the Rovers Academy lads would use Clitheroe's humble Shawbridge ground (and changing rooms, balls, bibs, etc!) while the Blues would have the use of Rovers multi-million pound state-of-the-art training complex at nearby Brockhall. Naturally the offer was accepted!

As the Rovers youngsters received a valuable lesson on what footballing life would be like should they not make the grade, the Clitheroe lads had a tremendous experience, finding out just how much work and effort the professionals put in. Here is Ex-manager David Burgess' Brockhall Diary - a fascinating insight into how the other half live.

Monday 16th July. When we arrived Sky Television were on hand to do a report for and spent approx. half an hour recording the lads training and even interviewed me! Training went very well with Eric Kinder (u16 coach) showing how the Academy lads warm up, do their stamina work and how to bring 'phase' play into our training techniques. We used most of their outside facilities for over 2 hours, including the grids and the goalkeeping training area - there was plenty of running and ball work and I picked up lots of tips from Eric. The lads fully enjoyed the session and are looking forward to Wednesday when we will be using their indoor pitch and hydro pool.

Wednesday 18th July. We had Eric Kinder and Robert Kelly (youth coach) as our coaches. Half of the lads spent an hour in the indoor centre with Eric, working on defending, shooting and general awareness of people around them. They also used the indoor 40m running track for speed and agility work. Using the gym we learnt that basic strength is not enough, Robert put the lads through a rigorous speed training session on the equipment to sharpen the reflexes - 30 second bursts on leg and upper body apparatus kept everyone on the move for over 35 minutes. Even the manager joined in - still can't move today (Friday)! Following a warm down in the hydro pool with stretching exercises, the groups then swapped over. We all finished off with a few competitive games in the pool, team swimming races - the manager was like Flipper and ensured that his team won all of the games! The 2 hours passed by in a flash.

Thursday 19th July. The first team squad were taken out on to one of the 'bowling green' pitches and worked on attacking positioning, attacking inside the penalty area and also defensive responsibilities, defenders positioning during games. Crossing, finishing and midfield passing also came into play in what was an enthralling 2 hours. The Reserve lads went into the indoor arena with junior coach Steve Nickson using the full facilities and finished off with a game. Over the 3 days we had using the fantastic facilities we used practically all the same training techniques the Rovers Academy lads use on a daily basis. It is no wonder that todays footballer is stronger, fitter and quicker than ever before.

Overall I could see how there is a massive gap between professional fitness and the semi professional approach to the game. I'm sure the players have benefited from their experience and the work the coaches put us through will benefit us in the coming season. If anything it has given me the appetite to explore further the coaching side to management....the manager has decided that his future lies in coaching and not playing!

(The broadcasted feature can be seen by clicking on this link or else visit the website - select Football, then Video, then click on 18 Jul Blackburn 'swap' scheme)
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