Doncaster Knights: Fitness coach Dougie Flockhart reveals how pre-season has been different this year
Doncaster Knights returned to Castle Park earlier this week to continue the build-up to their opening Championship Cup game on Saturday week.
The bulk of the squad, who reported back for pre-season training in early June, were given last week off following the completion of their three warm-up games.
“Normally we have around eleven weeks of pre-season training but this year it has been close to fifteen so we’ve given the squad a week off at the end of a five-and-a-half week training block,” said fitness and conditioning coach Dougie Flockhart.
“We have done one or two things differently this year.
“A few of the players used to work with a sprint coach at the EIS in Sheffield but this year we’ve brought a local sprint coach to Castle Park to work with all of the back line.
“We train on the new 3G pitch at the ground, which is really reactive, and we’ve been working on short sprints.
“All the players taking part in the sessions have benefited and their times have come down with Sam Olver showing the biggest improvement.”
He added: “We’ve also done extra work with the boys who needed it and they’ve been doing two sessions a day at times.
“We are looking for higher fitness standards all round this season so we told the boys to be in the same condition when they reported back as they had been at the end of last season.
“We tested all the players using the same standards as the Premiership at the start of pre-season for such things as body weight, body fat and speed in addition to anaerobic and aerobic fitness.
“All the backs, some of whom were fit to play on day one, met the criteria and went straight into power and strength training.
“The squad had already had two rounds of tests before last week’s break and they’ve had another this week as well as attending a training day at Loughborough.
“We haven’t been wanting them to be at maximum fitness during pre-season but we’ve required them to get to a particular level.”