October 25, 2013

England boot camp: details leaked

The team's pre-Ashes training camp has been kept under wraps - but this leaked memo reveals (or, rather, invents) all

From: Team England Conditioning, Fitness and Mental Strengthness Dept

Overall, a good weekend. The guys did particularly good work on their bladder skills, and there's every reason to suppose that the "put your hand up if you need to leave the room" policy will pay off this winter. We believe treating this group like adults is the way to go.

On the same skill set, Monty has really been working hard on urinating in good areas and we see no reason why he cannot now be allowed out past the hours of daylight.

The bowlers did well in all the warm-up sporting activities and we should definitely consider basketball as a possible second career for some. Transport over to Australia is a worry with so many tall players in the unit but we see no reason why Boyd and Chris cannot be stored horizontally in the cargo area of a plane, although Finny is scared of the dark, so this may be unsuitable in his case.

We did a lot of work on agility, ducking and weaving, hopefully ensuring that the boys will be able to dodge even the simplest questions from members of the press.

We are also keen to encourage muscle memory and drum it into the boys that if you prepare well then at the big moments things will just come naturally. As such we are getting the players to recite in unison: "Well obviously the whole team as a unit is focused on executing our skills." And we hope that eventually their tongues, lips and voice boxes will be doing this without thought.

On the more physical side, the obstacle course was a favourite for the boys, with Ian Bell again showing his newfound leadership qualities by carrying the rest of the batting unit throughout.

However, a hiking expedition around the countryside did cause several problems. Stuart point-blank refused to walk and instead insisted that he was within his right to stand still in the camp until instructed otherwise. When instructed otherwise, he became petulant.

We had to abandon plans for a boxing session because all 16 members of the squad wanted to pair off with Kevin, with some players asking if they could team up and hold him while others worked on conditioning his rib, torso and face areas.

The boxing work should also come in handy if our boys have to go out for a meet and greet in Australian pubs, clubs, parliament etc.

The lads were very keen on learning more about the data-analysis skills we use and are vowing to apply them to their own game, i.e. Championship Manager.

In the spirit of the Ashes, everyone agreed that they enjoyed the weekend so much that we should have one next week as well, and also the week after that.