In recent years football teams have seemingly decided that warm weather training near the end of each season is a good idea – but is it really?
My club AFC Bournemouth have gone along with this latest craze, staying at the NAS Sports Complex in Dubai during the latest international break – but this is a decision that has been view with a fair amount of trepidation by many Cherries fans, myself included.
So is the team’s latest trip to the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf a good idea? Well I’m glad you asked…
No – It didn’t work last season
This is generally most AFC Bournemouth fans’ greatest fear when discussing our recent trip to Dubai.
Last season’s collapse after the team went for warm weather training was truly incredible, as after after three consecutive wins in early March our form then took a serious nosedive – with one win and a single draw our only positive results from a series of eight games that saw us concede twenty goals and only score seven in response.
The team looked completely spent physically in those games, so naturally the concern is that the same might happen this season – especially when we’re still not quite safe on 33 points. We still need at least a couple more wins to confirm another year in the Premier League in my opinion.
Yes – It did work the season before that
There is the important fact that we did have a trip away to warmer climes during our Championship title winning season however – where on our return we then won five out of seven games (drawing the other two), so I think it’s safe to say that warm weather training has been very hit and miss for us.
One factor that may account for last season’s slump was that we were all but safe when we went on our trip to Dubai too – whereas in our league winning campaign we still had something to strive for.
Hopefully with safety still not quite assured the players will remain as motivated as possible for this season’s run in – as a finish anywhere near the top half would be a truly remarkable and historic achievement for the club.
No – Gets players too relaxed?
Although there have been quotes from the players and management staff that the warm weather training is “demanding,” “tough,” and “difficult,” there’s still the chance that such a trip can make it seem like the season is all but over – and is training in hot weather really beneficial for teams based in England? I’m not completely convinced.
Winger Jordan Ibe told the club’s official website that the weather has meant training was “difficult, not all of us are used to it and are more used to English weather, it’s demanding but it’s helped with our fitness” – but I’ll be very interested to see if the trip will really make any kind of serious impact on our performances for the rest of the season.
Yes – Builds team spirit
One of our team’s biggest strengths is the team spirit in the camp, but I think there well could be a core group – the players from our League One and Championship days – that perhaps new signings might find difficult to penetrate.
So with that in mind the many group activities organised during the Dubai trip – such as the karting session – can only help bring the group together and become a stronger unit on the pitch.
Chairman Jeff Mostyn even commented that getting some of the younger players to integrate into the squad was one of the key aims of the trip, saying that “the whole rationale behind the trip was for it to be a bonding exercise for the boys to spend quality time together.”
Centre back Steve Cook agreed, having told the club’s official website that “it’s a great place to come for a bit of team bonding.”
Well, unless they take karting too seriously and fall out over it of course. But seriously, what are the odds of that happening…