Training day for uefa.com reporters
Saturday, June 20, 2009
The UEFA Regions' Cup is the pinnacle of the amateur game and, having spent the last week watching the teams in Croatia, uefa.com's reporters experienced how Europe's best part-time players prepare for matches.
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The UEFA Regions' Cup symbolises the pinnacle of the amateur game and, having spent the last week running the rule over the eight teams in Croatia, uefa.com's team of reporters got the chance to experience how Europe's best part-time footballers prepare for matches.
On a sun-drenched training field in the picturesque surroundings of Sveti Kriz Zacretje, Sunday morning players Sam Adams and Wayne Harrison were put through their paces by the Region I AMA coaching staff as the Irish outfit enjoyed a final session before their last Group B fixture against Kempen AMA. With all matches in the initial stage of the final tournament kicking off at 17.30CET, Region I chose to train at the same time in order for the players − whose jobs include a financial consultant, a solicitor and a greenkeeper − to become acclimatised to the early evening temperatures.
The session begins with some light jogging before Dennis Slattery, the Region I team doctor, demonstrates a wide range of stretches and rotations – working all areas of the body – for the players to follow. From there, the squad move into a small area marked by cones where Gerry Smith, the Region I manager, takes over and talks his charges, and on this occasion the wary reporters, through various drills.
Feeling the heat in temperatures hovering around the 32C mark, Adams and Harrison are invited to engage in some ball work with the players involving short, sharp one-touch passes before the squad is called in to discuss the strengths, weaknesses and setup of the opposition. Having given his players a thorough briefing on Kempen, Smith, and his assistant coach, finish the session with a half-hour on-pitch demonstration of how they plan to counteract the Belgian side.
"The session was very low intensity," said Smith. "We've done all the shape work so running is not an option, it's not beneficial. Sometimes people complicate football: we've got ten outfield players and so have they. Now, unless somebody digs little holes and 20 players spring up, it's only ten v ten. Sometimes people complicate it with Christmas trees, Ws and diamonds, but as I keep saying we've ten players as have they."