Our players have held seven intensive training sessions in Dubai already. That included a mock match on the entire pitch on Saturday.
The players didn’t have a proper weekend off in the UAE, but they needed to recover anyway, both psychologically and physically. And so they had an unusual challenge in store for them this morning.
The training pitch turned into an obstacle course by the time the players arrived. They were then divided into two teams, with 6 challenges awaiting them.
«Curling»: the objective was to send the ball in such a way that it stops in a square
«Tennis Ball»: two-vs-two game on a tennis court
«Ping-pong»: same as tennis ball, but on a table for ping-pong
«Basketball»: the objective was to send the ball from a distance straight into a plastic container
«Headspin»: before taking a penalty, each player completed 10, and then 12, spins around a cone
«Bar challenge»: the players needed to hit the bar as many times as possible
Each team had to go through two rounds. There was a referee for each round, who kept notes of the score.
Our coach, Oleg Kuznetsov, told us about the benefits of this challenge.
— The session was of a recovery nature first of all. We needed to give the players an opportunity to relax, mentally too, after yesterday’s workload - and today they did that. But the challenges were technique-based, so the lads still needed to showcase their skills. Plus we had a competitive element to it, we did divide the players in two teams after all.
— The players are saying in interviews you now work with the ball more. Some fans are concerned this might affect the physical preparation...
— They shouldn’t be concerned. For example, yesterday’s mock match was played on the entire pitch, not just a part of it - this demanded a serious level of preparation. We want the players to get through their workload with the ball, not just through running. It’s easier to take it this way.
— This is the first pre-season tour for the coaching staff here at Spartak. Are you happy with how the first period went?
— I am. We can see the players have missed being on the pitch, they give everything in training, in every drill. No one wants to give way. It’s a good indicator of healthy competition for places in the squad.
— Several new players went to Dubai as part of the squad: Gyliev, who’s back at the Club after two years, Glushenkov and Ymyarov who joined from Chertanovo, Ayrton will take a while to get used to Russia. How’s their adaptation going?
— We have a good atmosphere in the team, that’s important. Those who are a bit older, been in the team for a while, help out their younger counterparts, help the newcomers. I can say, from the outside looking in, that everyone appears to have been taken well, that the new guys bed in and try to be competitive.
The players held another intensive session in the evening, once again a dynamic and intense affair. It included theory drills, one-touch passing, extensive running, etc.
Also, Roman Zobnin has joined in full training. The midfielder had surgery on his knee at the end of November, but has now fully recovered and is ready to train with the main group.