Nanaimo Training Camp
Day 6 June 16th by Guest correspondent Diana Matheson
This morning it was hard to get up following the game last night. I thought my legs were stiff yesterday, but I think today wins out after all.
Training this morning was not too bad though. The worst part was that Mel Booth, who had come into camp late, and our dear own Erin McNulty, had to do the beep test. The best part of practice was that the staff were doing the test too. A pool was quickly formed and bets were placed concerning the winners among the staff. I myself chose Jamie and Shel to place, and Dave to win it all. I didnít get them all right, but I did choose the winner correctly with Dave dominating the recorded beep tests. Mel and Erin both did very well, and I will also add here, that Even was the first runner to pull upÖno need to mention when.
After this fiasco, we played the greatest game of them all: The three-grid game (also known by some as soccer tennis). The teams were split into young, middle and old, and thanks to the advanced average age of this camp, I was clearly on the young team. We had actually started the game before the beep test, and the young team was dominating the competition, but our points were stripped from us when we went to watch the tests. The game was then unfairly restarted following the test. Fortunately youth did pay off and we still came out with a hard fought and much coveted three-grid game victory.
We finished off training with some sprints with Dave and then all returned to the hotel to eat and rest up for our very last training session.
This afternoon we had our last training session and we were all very tired to say the least. Bodies and minds are both definitely worn out. We played another competitive round of the three-grid game, but this time unfortunately the young team didnít win. We then played some 4v4 with walls and did a bit of shooting. We had a scare with a suspected injury to a player, but everything ended up okay and the camp ended on an overall good note.
We went out to dinner and all enjoyed some good food and company with some of the people who were kind enough to help us organize the camp here in Nanaimo. I chose the ribs from the menu and enjoyed every bite. We finished everything up with some team meetings and shortly after, people started to make their way home. We Ottawa people fly out in the morning, and will most likely spend the evening relaxing and getting some rest!
Day 5 June 15th
We played our final game of the camp tonight and the game went really well. Our starting eleven played very well and really earned the 1-0 win we got over the Under 17 Victoria Super Y Boys' team. Sincy scored the goal from a great corner taken by Britney. She clipped the ball slightly at the near post, and angled it into the far corner.
Our starters were Taryn in nets, and she split the time with KK. Both were outstanding. I do have to mention the fact that on one occasion, Taryn received a ball back from a defender. It was hit pretty hard, and the pass would have been tough for any player to handle, but not our Taryn. She calmly dropped one shoulder, did a little fake, took a nice touch off the side of her foot, and cleared the ball!!!! I informed Even on the bench that I had taught her this move, and I am still trying to deicde how to interpret his laughter? Did he think it was just a good joke, or did he think it highly improbable that I could teach her something like this?
Our defenders were Mel Booth who substituted in late in the game. Martina Franko, Latham and Sharolta. Midfielders were Diana, Amy and Andrea, while the forwards were Kara, Sincy and Charmaine. Everyone had outstanding games, and I am looking forward to our final meeting with Even tomorrow as I am sure he will have plenty of good things to say.
Amber, Britney, Sasha, Randee and I all came on later in the game, so everyone received some game time, which was great. The match attracted a good crowd. It's always rewarding to win in front of a loud, cheering spectator section.
Now, we have only one day left, meaning two more fitness/training sessions, so there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Day 4 June 14th
Rumor had it that we were going to have this morning off as well...........it was a lie. Even after taking a horrible, awful, terrible ice bath last night, all our legs were still heavy and achy this morning. So, when we heard that we were heading off to training less than an hour after breakfast, it was not great news.
Fortunately, Even went a little easy on us and training was lighter than usual. However, this by no means implies that training was a walk in the park. Seeing that just getting out of bed was a feat in itself this morning, running through an hour and a half practice was positively monumentally draining.
Lunch was Subways, and we all rudely grabbed our sandwiches and took them back to our rooms.
Some went to watch the FIFA World Cup Germany game, while others, most in fact, grabbed a quick nap. I stayed awake to cheer on Poland, not that I have anything against Germany. I just want England to win and therefore cannot root for any of the other big soccer power houses.
Our second session was also a little lighter than usual, but sharp enough. Today is the day when most of us have hit the endurance wall. This has been the day when all the aches, bruises, sprains finally emerge...it is when the pain kicks in, and all you want to do is curl up in bed and not move. So, even though having two sessions today was hard today, it was probably good that we were forced to get our legs moving and our hearts pumping. We have a game tomorrow, and if we had not trained today, we would have hit the wall during the game tomorrow.
For supper we headed to Parksville, where a local soccer club set up quite a spread for us. We were all tired, but perked up when we saw the great buffet table set up. What was also great, was getting to meet so many of the kids who belong to the Club, after we had eaten. We got to wander round and talk to them in an informal setting, which was fantastic. It is always an amazing feeling getting to meet young girls and boys who really love the sport and really love this team. Sometimes with the pressure of training and aches and groans, one forgets how much of an honor it is to represent your country. These kids remind you in a hurry. I also met a great guy Frank Morrow who used to live in Pierrefonds , which is a community right next to mine on the West Island of Montreal. He let me know that he checks these journal entries regularly so here's a little shout out to ya :) Thanks for coming out to support us tonight; (and for contacting me) We really appreciate it.
We are now back at the hotel and I have already started preparing for bed. It is only 9:30pm, but goodnight to all!
Day 3 June 13th: Bed, Boys and Turkey
What an AMAZING morning, we did nothing. Sleeping in was a real treat. Spending the whole morning just lying in bed with my feet up was out of this world.
Lunch was a strange one, as it consisted of turkey, stuffing and gravy!!!!! It was definitely my first turkey pre-game meal. We needed the protein though, as the game against the Metro boys was a tough one. They were really good players and took it to us with their superior height, speed and strength in the first half. They scored three goals on us and their strength made it really hard for us to find our rhythm.
However, things got better in the second period as we scored two goals and managed to keep them off the scoreboard. Kara got both goals. She really added a spark when she came on in the second half and fresh legs were very much in need by that point.
Everyone on the team was given playing time which is great, as the more field time everyone gets the deeper this team will be, and depth will make a good team great. Well I'm heading off to bed, and I have heard a horrible, vicious rumor that we have more fitness again in the morning.
Day 2 June 12th: Back at work
The wake up call came at 07:45 am, so we were right on time to turn on the television and watch Australia beat Japan in their FIFA World Cup Pool match. I was VERY excited by this, as I have said that the Aussies are going quite far in this tournament.
Mornings are always busy. We eat quite a bit, then have about an hour to get dressed and head out to training. This morning's session was a mixture of fitness work and playing with the ball. We started out with a long warm up with Paul, our P2 fitness trainer, and then moved into a 5 versus 2 box game to get our touches on the ball back. It was a much needed drill, as everyone seems a little sore and slow.
Our next drill was a game of sorts with attacking players going up against the defenders. We did quite well considering our wobbly legs, although embarrassingly, the drill ended with me missing a wide
open goal....moving right on.
To finish the session we headed back to Paul and did some sprint work outs. It worked a little like increase/decrease fitness, but it wasn't. Now isn't that a great piece of description to describe to you what was happening? All that really needs to be known about it, is that it was tiring and I was very overjoyed to hear Even tell us to go and cool down.
We had Pita Pit for lunch, and now have a nice break for a few hours, before we head back out. It was enough for me to sit and watch the Italy versus Ghana World Cup game.
Training was not too complicated. Even split us up into two groups and we played soccer for 45 minutes. The level was intense, and Even seemed pleased with what we were doing, so that is good. Everyone was exhausted out there, but we dug deep and pushed through and I think the coaches
saw that. The game ended in a 0 - 0 tie, but there were several good scoring opportunities.
After our game we headed out to see Paul for our last fitness session: hurray!!! We did sprints followed by abs work, followed by a hellish series of squats. Paul had us doing jump switch squats -ahhhhhhhhhhhhh. The only funny thing about the entire episode was Andy telling Amy that she looked like Bambi on ice!!!
The squats hurt,and our legs are dead, and yeah Even decided to give us the morning off tomorrow. It is a good thing too, as I don't know how we would have managed to play the boys tomorrow without some time off to get our legs rested.
The evening was spent in a meeting with our team psychologist and with Even. This meeting was a worthwhile one, because a good team always needs to be on the same page and these meetings help us to do this. The meeting was also good in that it meant I missed watching the Edmonton Oilers lose again!!!!! We need a Canadian team to bring the Cup home, but I can't see the Oilers doing it now. A demain
Day 1 June 11th: Quick update from camp.
Straight from Ottawa, Diana and I had a pretty straight forward flight into Nanaimo from Ottawa,
even though we were pretty tired from our Fury game against the New Jersey Wildcats, the evening before. We landed just before 1:00 pm and we were heading off to training by 2:30 pm.
We had heard rumors of a fitness training session and they were correct. Not only were we going to be tested on the beep test, but we were also going to receive a P2 (our fitness training people) running test.
The team was split into two groups and, of course, as a "W" I was last in the second group. What this means is that I had to watch every single person in the team get their test before it was my turn. I
was very anxious by the time my turn came round. The P2 running test had to be run three times and consists of a straight run, followed by three sharp cuts, and then another straight run. The whole circuit is about 40 yards long, and then you have 25 seconds to get back to the start. Once I started, it wasn't too bad but the cutting did take a lot out of my legs.
This test was followed by the beep test which was, once again, run in two groups. The first group
did very well - headlined by Amy Walsh and Diana - both of whom managed a 12. I was not pleased by Diana's score, as now I had no excuse for not doing as well. She had exactly the same tired legs as me from the day before, and she had shared the day of travel as well !!
Fortunately, my group did well too, although not quite as well as the first group winners. Martina earned 11.5, I think. I had to drop out somewhere around 11 !!! Not my best result, but I was pleased enough with it on this occasion.
For supper we headed to Swiss Chalet where everyone did VERY well. All the running we had done had definitely built up quite an appetite in us all.
Then, after eating, the usual gang headed for the coffee shop, before we all headed down to the docks to do some dragon boat racing. However, before we were allowed near the boat, we first had some official duties as were introduced to the mayor of the city and some councillors.
The paddling was quite a bit of fun although, perhaps, a little too strenuous. Our guide, Nora, was really into her sport, and unfortunately I don't think we were up to her exacting standards. She kept telling Charmaine that she was a "lillydipper," and she was totally frustrated by our apparent lack of effort. This soccer team is not an easy one to handle, so I was impressed that Nora was able to remain calm and composed while we laughed and joked around.
By 10:00 pm we were back at the hotel, and not long after I was curled up in bed asleep. It has been a busy first day and tomorrow, judging by our schedule, looks just as full.