As Barbados Under-15 female team gear up to compete in the 2016 CONCACAF Under-15 Girls Championship in Orlando, Florida, fitness will be key to their chances, says physical trainer Leroy Stuart.
Barbados TODAY understands that the provisional 34 players that took part in the Barbados Football Association’s (BFA) elite camp have now been cut to 18 and will be released at a later date before the team depart for competition from August 9 to 21.
Stuart, who is a soldier with the Barbados Defence Force, said that after the last three weeks the girls were a lot stronger and much fitter. He explained that football calls for short sprints, dashes, twists and turns, so the physical training was of such similar to how a person would perform in the game.
“First week we started with light exercises like jumping jacks, windmills, short sprints. We did resistant training by running into the wind, we used car tyres to run sixty yards repeatedly to enhance speed and toughness of the leg as well as touching the core a bit because everything has to come from the core,” he said.
According to the veteran fitness trainer strong legs, a tight core and a sound mindset were needed when playing football because skills alone could not do it.
Stuart, who also works with the under-17 boys currently playing in the Caribbean Football Union competition in St Kitts and Nevis, noted that this amount of physical training was not too much on the girls. Adding that they were cognisant of the fact that these young ladies were still juveniles and their muscle groups had not yet been formulated like an adult.
“We are not trying to turn them into hulks we are just trying to get them a bit conditioned to do the job that is required in their age group. The entire camp is on a good bearing, coach Forde [Richard] is professional at this, he knows exactly what he wants from the technical side and embraces my strategies and we work together to ensure the physical is in tact.
“If you look at their muscles you will see there are more defined, upright posture, you will also see a sense of urgency and all these things are building and yes we want to see these things happen in a snap. But it has to be done progressively and these girls are at the stage that they need to be given three weeks training,” said Stuart, who referenced Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme winning a number of Premier League titles because they were more fitter than the average person.
Meanwhile chairman of the BFA technical committee, Adrian Donovan, also praised Stuart saying he had gone beyond the call of duty and without a doubt the fitness of both teams had improved since his inclusion.
“We saw an area where we needed a little boost in the physical preparation for both the boys and girls and we were able tthrough the kind service of the Barbados Defence Force to get Leroy. He has been able to do some wonders and I hope in the end it would pay off. But on behalf of the president of the executive board I would like to thank the officers from the BDF whom we have a good working relationship with to lend us members of their staff from time to time especially when our national teams are in preparation for competition,” Donovan said.