Supporters could be forgiven for expecting Broncos Head of Performance Mike Eccles to be feeling frustrated following almost a year of false dawns and cancellations to his plans for training, and more recently the 2021 Pre-Season. However speaking to the club earlier this week Mike was refreshingly upbeat and spoke with remarkable positivity.
“We have to take from this as much as we can. The culture of the club and the mind set of the team is all about controlling what you can, and not worrying about what you can’t. The expectation was that as long as the players remained safe and healthy in lockdown, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be returning in great shape; and they’ve done that. I’d say a large portion of the group have not only used the lockdown positively but have actually made huge improvements to their aerobic fitness levels.”
It is because of the players looking after themselves so well Eccles and his performance team expect the players to ‘hit the ground running’ potentially getting a ball in their hand earlier than usual on their return but warned the players will still have the usual tough pre-season to look forward to.
He added “The players can still expect a tough pre-season but we can possibly get into skills and ball sessions quicker than usual which has been well received by Wardy and Langers. The players took balls, cones and various other bits of kit home with them after the season was cancelled and I know they have been trying to do what they can. The limitations however on what skills players can do on their own is obvious so it’s imperative we get the boys back into the rugby side of things from the off. I’d say getting back into skills and a consistent structured gym programme as well as just being back together again as a group will be the things the players will be looking forward to the most.”
Another positive for Eccles, the clubs longest serving member of coaching staff, is the ability to monitor players personal training runs using GPS which has meant that the performance dept has been able to see the times and distances of the players runs without breaking covid protocol. Eccles said “We live in world where you can pretty much monitor anything you like by simply downloading a phone App. The players have have sent back their running and cycling times to us throughout various periods of lockdown and as I mentioned earlier, the times have been really impressive so it is clear the boys have kept themselves in good shape. The period of time away from the club has also given players with injuries and niggles time to heal which they potentially wouldn’t have had in a normal year. It’s very seldom too that players get to focus solely on aerobic fitness without juggling bumps, bruises and a hectic training schedule.”
With the players expected to return to training at the clubs new facility at Rosslyn Park imminently Eccles hopes this is the last enforced break for the Broncos and has everything ready for the players return.
“The facilities at Rosslyn Park are very similar to what we have been used to. The 3g pitch means we will not be interrupted by weather issues and gives us a higher standard of training than a grass pitch would at this time of year. We like to perform everything at speed when we train from conditioning sessions to offensive and defensive sessions. The surface here allows us to do just that.”
“Geographically Rosslyn Park is closer to the Plough Lane Stadium in Wimbledon which I know the club are trying to secure a deal on to play at so there is a positive for us there too.”
The Club will bring supporters regular updates from Pre-Season with Mike Eccles and his performance team as the Broncos aim for a big 2021 in the Betfred Championship.