Grieve counting down the weeks till kick-off
Iain Grieve was one of the new faces to arrive at Vallis Way over the summer and here the Botswana-born back-rower looks back on the first period of pre-season.
The first seven weeks have been tough but good. As a team we have come a long way since day one but we still have plenty of work to do. Seeing a new squad working really well together is hard to achieve in a short space of time, but the team has jelled on and off the pitch.
For the first few weeks of pre-season we were put through our paces by the coaches. From working hard in the gym to getting familiar with new calls and playing together as a team. Nick Rees the Strength and Conditioning coach varied the sessions well and increased or decreased the intensity he wanted the players to be working at. Our conditioning sessions have been tough and as a squad you can see improvements in individuals. The competitive edge the players have between each other already shows how much of a headache Ben Ward will have when it comes to selection.
As players we need to be physically ready for the upcoming season, but we also need to make sure our skill levels are at a high standard. The Greene King IPA Championship is getting harder and harder every year and we want to be a competitive team and not just make up the numbers.
As such skills coach Paddy Gill has been working closely with every player to make sure their skill levels are improving because the style we want to play, each individual's handling skills have to be of a high standard. Every team wants to play high intensity rugby and making sure the basic skills are a high standard is critical when it comes to winning games. Ensuring forwards and backs work well together is key and we have already noticed improvements in our team sessions.
Kieran Power is in charge of the forwards sessions and works closely with David Paice and George Skivington. Our scrum has started to take shape and we can already see the benefits of the strength and conditioning sessions with how strong individuals have become in their scrum set ups. Our lineouts have come on leaps and bounds and we are starting to show more accuracy in our speed and setups of lineouts.
Ben Ward and Paddy Gill have been in charge of the backs sessions and seeing them gel together just as well as the forwards is great to see. The ability to break the defensive line is a major part of setting up good attacking positions on the field and judging how the backs have been working, we will hopefully have that attacking threat to give us that edge in matches.
It's hasn't all been work at Vallis Way though. For a team to work together they have to bond and there is no better way than enjoying a few off-field activities. We enjoyed a team social which involved pub golf and while the team took London head on, it is fair to note that a few players managed to stay strong. I managed to hold my own, but a lift down the M4 was much needed and my fellow M4 car club colleague Alun Walker did me a massive favour.
Last week the players enjoyed some much needed rest and I enjoyed a few days of sun in Greece. That said it wasn't all sitting in the sun. Two light sessions to get the heart rate up was something to keep me ticking over and to making sure that the seven weeks of work didn't go to waste after a few days off. It was nice to get away but now we are back ready to work and are looking forward to the matches in the next few weeks to get us right and ready for the beginning of the season.