By Cam Harris
It seems like a lifetime ago when we were a matter of weeks away from the commencement of the Betfred Women’s Super League, but the reality is we was at the business end of a gruelling preseason in full preparation for the biggest Women’s competition ever! I caught up with York City Knights Ladies Head Coach, Daryl North, to discuss the implications of COVID19 on everything from fitness challenges to drawing competitions!
The main worry for any team going into a period where they are not physically able to train and/or compete is the fitness of players dropping and going back to before preseason. The coaching team of Daryl North and Kay Rollinson were pro-active in addressing this potential issue with Daryl explaining that “We set the girls daily challenges and exercises to do over the course of a few days and kept track in a little league table… this kept the girls working hard in a fun way and made it a bit competitive”.
If you follow our social media pages (which you should do if you don’t), you’ll know that we have been posting our weekly workout set out by ‘PTGT’ Georgia Taylor, who has also being leading weekly zoom sessions where the girls were working through these workouts, all pushing each other. Daryl added on this saying “They helped massively not just for the girls, physical health but their mental health also… girls were also meeting in socially distanced small groups outside to do their own stuff on top”.
The coaching pair of North and Rollinson were aware of the need to again be proactive to keep squad morale high, in which they were creative in keeping the York City Knights Ladies squad engaged and the mood happy and high. The most interesting method was a drawing competition between the squad, North adding “We did a drawing competition pairing the girls off and asking them to draw each other, there was some awesome ones!” on other methods he added “Kay then split the squad into teams of 4 and we set them challenges over zoom to earn points… this again was very fun for the girls and made them even more competitive!”.
Shifting the focus back to on the pitch, its hard to envisage how this break will affect on field performances after such a prolonged period with no rugby, but the coaching team aren’t lowering their standards and expectations any time soon. Daryl commented that “We have the same squad, so nothing has changed for us… we don’t want to be beaten on home soil and that’s what we aim to achieve first and foremost”