Aidy Boothroyd believes the work the Cobblers squad have put in during the first week of pre-season training will enable them to ‘hit the ground running’ when the campaign kicks off.
Town are now into week two of their preparations for the 2013-14 season, and will play their first friendly match, at United Counties League side Sileby Rangers, on Saturday.
Boothroyd is an avid follower of sports science and admits the current training is a far cry from when he was a player and “you’d come back overweight, put a bin bag on, run around in the sun and usually get injured.”
But while he is happy to enlist the services of fitness coach Craig King and take the players to Croatia for a week, there is no substitute for the traditional hard graft,
“I like to have an early-morning session because it wakes them up. It’s a bit like the army,” said Boothroyd of the trip to Novigrad.
“It’s not a physically difficult session, but it is technically difficult and it’s about getting their touch right.
“The second session is the hardest one. It’s the same training we do but with a lot of disguised running. I don’t do a lot of running without a ball, it’s all specific to what we do.
“Then we’re doing circuits in the gym and that’s quite tough and intense.
“I just think the first week is really important because it’s about getting your body in tune with where it was before.
“Now we go from three sessions a day to two a day and that’s how we’ll be from now on.”
New signging Darren Carter did not arrive until after the squad had returned from Croatia but had been training in isolation with two fellow unattached professionals.
Most players spend their time off in the gym between seasons, ensuring there are no weight issues when the group returns, and because - as Boothroyd says - the increasingly competitive nature of the sport means every possible advantage has to be maximised.
“When you’re on tour you can put people under proper stress and that’s why I like to do it because that way, you can really hit the ground running,” he said.
“We were doing our afternoon sessions in the gym and when we came out the heat was ridiculous.
“But it was a really good camp. It’s good to have a captive audience because they can’t run away from you to go to somebody’s Christening or something, they’ve got no choice.”