This report is from the training camp which took place from 31st March - 2nd April 2017 at Lilleshall National Sports Centre.

Friday 31st March

We’re back! We didn’t have to wait long for this one, with just two weeks between camps the squad were looking forward to building some momentum ahead of the World Cup in July. We met in the sports hall at around 1pm to collect our kit for the weekend and get ready for the afternoon’s training session. With the lads keen to jump straight in the chairs it was left up to the carers to take the kit and check into the rooms.

As always the afternoon session was relatively relaxed. We split ourselves into two teams and got a ‘self reffed’ game going! The afternoon session is a great way to get the banter flowing, with plenty of showboating and numerous dodgy decisions, the session seems to settle everyone down for a weekend of hard work.

After a break for an early dinner the boys were back in the sports hall ready for the serious training to begin. The evenings training session was based around transitional drills, encouraging the team to pass the ball under pressure and play in behind the press. The coaches encouraged a quick tempo and emphasised the importance of being set ready to receive the ball and make the correct decision. After a couple of hours training we headed up to our rooms for an early night ready for a busy day tomorrow. 

Saturday 1st April

The alarm was set for 7am ready for a busy days training. After a quick breakfast the boys headed down the sports hall ready to warm up and kick start the day with another tennis tournament!

The morning’s sessions was based around passing drills, with the boys encouraged to make off the ball movements to find new pockets of space or to create room for our teammates to receive the ball in better positions. We finished the morning with some short 10-minute coached games, trying to transfer the morning’s session into game related scenarios.  

We wrapped up for the morning and headed up to the main complex ready for lunch. The boys were being treated to some live sport this afternoon, with Colin and Adam arranging for us to go down to Kidderminster Harriers to watch a game as special guests and launch the clubs new disability sport project.

As we approached the ground the sky’s got darker and darker, and we were greeted with a heavy downpour on the clubs car park! We huddled under a handful of umbrellas before taking over the clubs offices to get out the rain. Luckily enough the rain passed before kick off and we were then treated to an afternoon in the sunshine watching some top class non-league football!

At half time we headed over to the dugouts for a quick Q&A with the stadium announcer to talk about the World Cup and all things Powerchair Football. It’s always nice to spread the word about what we do and it was great to receive a nice round of applause from the fans as we walked round the stadium and headed back to or seats.

Unfortunately we didn’t seem to bring the Harriers much luck and they went onto lose the game 2-1, losing for the first time at home in 14 games! I think that’s the last time the squad will be invited down to a game as Colin will have us down as a bad omen for his team.

We headed back to Lilleshall ready for dinner an evenings training session. After a busy day the evening was based around more game play ready for our first test tomorrow afternoon. 

Sunday 2nd April

The lads have been buzzing for today (Sunday) all weekend! Adam Crowle had been busy behind the scenes pulling together a “League Elite” team to come down and give us a game.

We met for breakfast then went across to the team meeting room where Colin gave us a prep talk, explaining that this was the start of our journey and everything we’d been working towards. Although it was a friendly game you could really feel the pre match butterflies kicking in and a sense of team spirit as the squad were looking forward to competing together to achieve our aim!

We headed down to the sports hall and got in the chairs ready to warm up. Chaz (Physio) had been working on a pre match warm up that we could use pre match to get the lads ready both technically and mentally to go into a game. We had a short 10-15minute warm up on court and we were ready to go!

The morning’s game started off at an electric tempo! The first team of 4 (Charlie, Jon, Kyle and Matt) set the pace for the rest of the day, notching 4 goals and showing some crisp passing throughout. The standards didn’t drop in the second 20 and if anything it seemed to get better and better with each goal that was scored. The confidence was flowing amongst the lads and the parents cheered every goal home from up on the balcony.

We resumed after lunch expecting more of the same but to give credit to the “League Elite” team they’d had a good chat about the mornings play and came back stronger in the afternoon. It took us a while to get back to the mornings standards but we dug deep in the final 20, got the passing going and finished off with some of the best play during the entire camp!

As a squad we are really starting to feel like all our hard work is beginning to pay off and cant wait to get out to Florida to try and bring the trophy home. We’d just like to thank the guys and girls who gave up their time to come down to play against us on Sunday and appreciate all the support we get from the Powerchair Football Community!