Final preparations for the Ireland International Weekend were completed on Sunday at The Peak, Stirling. The focus for the day had been to review our passing structure and hitting linkages. The morning session proved to be a tough one as the standard of performance struggled to reach the level that we were all looking for. It was frustrating for everyone but it was also a timely reminder that this journey we have embarked on will not be an easy one.
Lunchtime was spent distributing kit for the weekend and refocusing on what needed to be done in the afternoon session. The fact that the level improved considerably is testament to the players and their desire to engage effectively in all that they are asked to do.
While the serving remained as tough as it had done all day the passing became much more consistent with the result that the hitting had a real sharpness about it. The key message that was constantly being reinforced throughout the day was the need to compete. The afternoon session had this in abundance and by the time the final play had been completed the players knew they had turned things around.
Following the warm-down session it was time to give some thought to the weekend ahead. It is important that the players see the weekend as a whole and that they don’t simply concentrate on the formal match on Sunday. One of our main objectives has been to build the correct performance environment. This means EVERYTHING that we do has to be as ‘professional’ as we can make it. From the moment we gather at Prestwick Airport early on Friday morning until we return back home late on Sunday evening we have to ensure that we pay attention to every detail at every opportunity.
As the last few players left The Peak on Sunday and headed to their cars I reflected back on what we have done over the past seven months. We all believe that we have made progress but the truth is we don’t know for sure. Next weekend will leave us in no doubt as to whether or not we are on track. Interesting times lie ahead!
SWNTP Head Coach
10 October 2011