The GIANTS have stepped up their preparations for 2016 with the club’s toughest ever training session.
The entire squad joined the 2nd Commando Regiment for a gruelling session at Holdsworthy Army Barracks in South-Western Sydney.
The 12-hour session tested the playing group mentally as much as physically.
“It was a bit of a shock (for the players) but I’m really proud of the guys and they adjusted really quickly and you can see who jumps into action straight away and marshals the troops, the players,” said Head Coach Leon Cameron.
The players didn’t know what to expect when they were told to arrive at training late last year with a toothbrush, fresh socks and underwear and the expectation of not returning home for 48 hours.
Activities included a two hour swimming and workout session in complete army camouflage gear, mentally challenging endurance exercises, tent assembling in silence as well as paint-balling.
“We wanted some physical differences from our day to day routine at the footy club, and we thought we achieved that,” said Cameron.
“There was also the mental side of it. Pushing through things when there might be some adversity in front of you that you’re not used to, so we thought we achieved that.
“And we felt like some of the players grew another leg and stepped up to another level that you might not see in the day to day training so that was good.”
Co-captain Callan Ward said he could see the benefits of the session both mentally and physically.
“We were broken up into four different groups and did a number of activities,” said Ward.
“At the start they were very physically challenging, but most of them were more mental and you had to help your team mates through it.
“As a footballer, you’re playing a team sport and if you’re thinking about yourself it’s not going to work so you need everyone thinking about each other.”
Cameron said the idea of taking the players out of the comfort zone like this was first raised during the GIANTS post-season review as the coaching staff mapped out the upcoming pre-season with the approach then made to the military.
“We flagged it with the guys (2nd Commando Regiment) and said we’d love your help with what you guys go through in terms of leadership, team work, staying in moments when you’re mentally fatigued and a number of things like that, and once we flagged our intentions of ‘could we spend a day training with them,’ they were on the front foot straight away.”
With the first week of training for 2016 behind them, the GIANTS will look to put in place their new-found camaraderie and resilience as the training becomes more match focused ahead of next month’s NAB Challenge.
The GIANTS would like to thank the 2nd Commando Regiment at Holdsworthy Army Barracks for accommodating the club, as well as all the men and women who risk their lives for our country.
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