Notts County players have not had to endure a grueling day of fitness drills…
Notts boss Keith Curle has kicked off pre-season by introducing plenty of ball work, telling his players: ‘Get fit playing football’.
The squad, which included plenty of new faces and a collection of trialists, expected to spend the first few days being put through their paces but were instead taking part in technical drills for large portions of the session.
Strength & conditioning coach Nick Ward did get to test the players' fitness with numerous running exercises and core fitness routines, but Curle was eager to place a big emphasis on ball work from day one.
“This pre-season is going to be different from what they’ve normally done, it’s going to be different from what I’ve normally done,” he explained.
“Right from day one we’re getting the footballs out but there will be hard work and some physical for them as well.
“The majority of it is going to be done with a football, which I think the players will enjoy.
“The mindset I’ve got is not to get the players fit to play football but to get fit playing football.
“It makes sense, doesn’t it? You hear these stories of these people going on six-mile runs but you never do that on the pitch on a Saturday, a continuous six-mile run.
“I’ve got faith in the new strength & conditioning coach we’ve brought in and with the other coaches we’ve got I think we can entertain the players but also get them fit.”
Curle is pleased with the way his squad is shaping up but expressed a desire to add more fresh faces in the coming weeks.
Many of the players recruited so far, including Enoch Showunmi, Dean Leacock and Manny Smith, have added physical strength to the roster, something that Curle feels the Magpies require to compete at the top of League 1.
He added: “The modern game, you have to be physically able to cope and handle yourself, but these players can handle a football as well, they can play.
“I want to play football but sometimes in certain games against certain teams you have to be able to go toe-to-toe, you have to be able to stand up for yourself.
“We need to be quicker, faster, stronger than the opposition but still have the ability to play it as and when we can do.
“If you want to play football you’ve got to have footballers and if you want to be direct you’ve got to have a fit team.
“I want to be a fit team but I want to play football.”
For the full interview with Curle and the latest arrivals at Meadow Lane, sign in to Magpie Player.