Doncaster Knights: Flockhart praised for wrestling squad into shape
Dougie Flockhart has been wrestling the Doncaster Knights squad into shape - quite literally.
And the hands-on approach of the Knights’ strength and conditioning guru has been praised by new head coach Tom Smith for his work so far this summer.
Smith has been determined to put his new squad through the wringer as he prepares them for the Championship campaign ahead.
And he says the presence of player-coach Flockhart has been vital for that – particularly with his grappling.
“The first month or so of pre-season training is all about conditioning,” said Smith who was the oldest player in the Premiership when he retired aged 37. “I did about 15 or 16 pre-seasons as a player so I know what it’s like. It never gets any easier.
“Dougie Flockhart really knows his stuff. He goes into a lot of detail and he’s put a really good pre-season plan together.
“It’s interesting because Dougie is also a member of the (playing) squad and I’ve never come across that situation before.
“But I think having that contact with the players helps and he is very good at defining when he is a conditioner and when he is a player.
“It works well and the rest of the squad buy into what he is trying to do and they respect him and what he brings to the table.
“We have been working on trying to get everyone’s fitness levels to where we want them to be and we’ve been working on short, but quite intense, running sessions.
“As with all clubs there is quite a big emphasis on strength work at this time of the year.
“All the players are different. Some are still recovering from injuries picked up last season; some will want to improve their body shape, some may want to bulk up a little bit, some will want to work on their speed and agility.
“That is where having a good conditioner really helps because they can work out specific programmes for every player.
“As well as the new 3G pitch we’ve also got a gym on site so we’ve got excellent facilities here at Castle Park, but we’ve also been looking at a few off-site places as well for things like wrestling.
“While gym strength is important you need to have functional strength. I remember doing wrestling sessions as a player and I’ve run sessions at various clubs I’ve coached at and it’s never the guy you expect to be the best wrestler who is.
“It’s not always the strongest because you need a combination of strength and agility and technique. It is good for fitness and it is relevant during a game of rugby.
“Dougie has already been working on wrestling and boxing in one-on-one sessions.”