Thorman’s Thoughts

18th November 2011

Skolars 1st team player and Community Coach Neil Thorman takes a look at how the 1st team squad have settled into pre-season training

“With London Skolars second week of pre season coming to a close I thought I’d give a quick update as to what training has involved so far. Our first get together was on Monday 7th November, with 26 very nervous Skolars players waiting in the changing room to prepare for the 2012 Championship 1 season. Not everybody realised that behind the scenes myself, Head coach Joe Mbu, and players Matt Thomas who is also taking lead as the Conditioner and Ollie Bloom, had been renovating downstairs, moving equipment, throwing out old gym machinery and painting the walls. You name it we’ve done it!”

“Our aim was to put together a new gym with squat racks, Olympic bars, weights, pull up and dip areas, everything you’d need in a rugby league gym. Jeremy Hickmans (Strength & Conditioner of St. George Illawarra Dragons) was quoted saying, “if you’re a player at the Dragons you’re going be sick of doing shoulder press, squat, pull ups, bench press & deadlifts,” which is exactly what we can cater for, and more. A combat/wrestling room was also kitted out with floor mats, boxing equipment and gloves for every player. Then finally we looked at organising kit and equipment rooms.”

“With this done we wanted players to come straight into an organised and professional environment. Our evening started with a welcome and introduction of coaches and coaching staff. This was followed by a fun ice breaker, which helped a few new guys and the younger u18/20s players that had been invited down. Then the whole squad was split into 4 teams, all given a team captain which they were in charge of, for the hard work to start. Some would be speed testing, some subject to endurance testing, then the other groups would be boxing or in the gym. My group were into the sprints then endurance. I personally felt happy I made it to the other end of the field without stopping, and was only just pipped by Aaron Small in the sprint time. But this is why we are testing, so that we can build and progress and better our times when we retest. Endurance went well, a few players felt their legs were heavier than usual. After that we were in the gym and finishing with boxing. Not a bad first day, but that was only one and we have around 30 until our first competitive game against newly named London Broncos. With that Joe Mbu has always stated we will progress with the intensity each session and look to peak come January/ February.”

“A few more training sessions went by with some max towel pull ups (great for grip strength) and 3 RM (repetition maximum) strength testing, with new signing Lameck Juma topping the class in shoulder press of 100kg and 145kg bench press. Having use of a 3G astroturf all year around has enabled us to do field fitness aka every rugby players least favourite name ‘Malcolms’ & ‘turn arounds’, and ball work which players are enjoying and starting to really get stuck into and pull together. Our new physio Laura Dunstan is also doing 30 minutes of stability exercises and stretching for injury prevention and more efficient movement.”

“Overall a very successful start to pre season. With everyone looking forward to more professional training, and then having 6 more players being introduced after Christmas. The aim is to have at least two players fighting for their spot in every position.”

Thought for pre season:

“Champions are made when nobody is watching.”

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