Reviving the Dream: Episode 3

My journey to Dynamo Trials 2011

We are now two days away from Dynamo Trials, and although I
feel more ready than I did two weeks ago, I would not mind having an extra week or
two of training with the Academy to improve my fitness. As I mentioned in my
last entry, Wednesday night’s training session was going to focus heavily on
conditioning, and it certainly lived up to the billing. For last night’s
session, I trained with the Dynamo U-18s, a group with which I am more familiar, as many of these players were on the Holland trip that I went on with the Academy back in June.

Sign up for Dynamo Trials 2011, presented by Lloyd's Register 

We began the session with a few warm-up exercises to get
everyone moving. These drills encompassed running within the 18-yard box,
changing directions, and doing an array of exercises to loosen the muscles. The
final exercise was a game of handball, a game I have seen the Dynamo first team
play on numerous occasions. Just to be clear, the players needed to throw the ball to each other through the air, as opposed to kicking the ball with their feet. Last
night, players on each team needed to pass the ball five times consecutively
without letting the ball drop or having the person with the ball be tagged by a
player on the opposing team. Each time a team reached five consecutive passes,
that team earned one point. For every three points earned, the opposing team needed to
do 20 push-ups. Thankfully, the team I was on won all of the games, so we did
not need to do any push-ups, and I could conserve my energy for the next
exercise.

Following handball, the players did one more timed speed
drill before the beep test. For those unfamiliar with the beep test, it is designed to test both a player’s speed and endurance. For this particular
test, two sets of cones were placed 20 yards apart. The 20-yard runs are
synchronized with a pre-recorded audio tape, which plays beeps at set
intervals. The audio tape will let you know when you should be halfway done
with your run and when you should be finished with each run. After the
recording announces that you are finished with your 40-yard run, players have a
few seconds to rest before the recording tells you to start again. The timing of each run gets shorter and shorter, so by the final run you might only have 6 seconds to
finish the sprint as opposed to the first run, where you might have as much as
10 seconds. This may seem like a long time for a 40-yard dash, but taking
into account the time it takes to turn at the end of 20 yards, the weather, and
how many previous runs you have already done, it certainly is not that easy.

The players were broken into two groups with each group
running for four minutes. After the second group finished its four-minute
set, the first group would step up again. Each group ran four times total. To
say I was drained by the end of the fourth beep test would be an
understatement. Although not every kid was able to finish each sprint in the
allotted time, I was definitely impressed with the number of kids who were able
to finish, including those that finished the test quite easily. It’s certainly
a testament to the players and the commitment they have to their bodies and
the Dynamo Academy program.

Following the beep test, the players moved over to one of
the grass fields for an 8 v. 8 scrimmage. I told the Academy coaches from the
beginning that although I would love to participate in their training sessions,
I did not want to take any reps away from the players, especially with their
season on the horizon. With that said, I remained on the side with a few of the
injured players and did core-work to improve our abdominal muscles. This may have been
as strenuous as the scrimmage, but it certainly gave me some ideas of exercises
to work on going forward.

Tonight I’ll be back in action with the Academy for my final
training session before Saturday’s tryout. I have been told tonight’s session
will involve a combination of fitness and ball-work, which will be beneficial
if I am able to move on to the skills test on Sunday.

As always, thanks for following along and be sure to look
out for tomorrow’s entry.

Related articles:
Reviving the Dream: Episode 1
Reviving the Dream: Episode 2