On Monday evening Gillingham Ladies’ return to pre season training started with a tough fitness session run by Gillingham’s Fitness Coach James Russell. Also under the eyes of Darren Hare and Mark Patterson, the Ladies were put through their paces at Beechings Cross. Starting the session by assessing the Ladies speed and agility, using a time trap to measure a fixed distance sprints, then a course of cones showed how nibble their movement was. Following this the Ladies underwent a test of their jumping power, from a standing start the Ladies had to jump as far as they could.
With the Ladies warmed up for the more testing part of the session, James put the Ladies through the Polar test. A series of runs between a fixed distance with a limited break in between, the Ladies early pre-season fitness was really tested with this one.
Speaking to Gillingham’s academy manager Darren Hare after the session, Darren was pleased with the showing from the girls;
“James the fitness coach has taken them through the speed and jump tests, and the polar runs which are all exactly the same as the men’s first team would go through in this point of pre-season. Today gives us a base score of where the fitness levels are, and in 6-8 weeks time we will revisit those tests where we hope to measure an improvement on how fit they have got.”
In a summer of change at the club that has seen the former manager depart for Brighton, players leave for pastures new and Gills Ladies form a new partnership with the Men’s side. Darren was wise to the change and the challenge ahead;
“It’s not going to be easy for the girl’s, it’s a new regime for them. There is mixed emotion with the old coaching staff gone elsewhere, as too with players gone. It’s going to be a challenge, without a shadow of doubt, but we are still looking to bring new players in where we can. It may take us 2 to 3 years to get to the levels we were at last season, then so be it. At the end of the day we thank everyone who was concerned with the club last year, the players and the coaches. It’s football and we move on, that’s what we are doing with the best of our ability and we will see where that takes us.”