By Rob Cornell
Sports Scientist Jason Moriarty was able to deliver a very positive assessment after the first week of pre-season training for AFC Wimbledon.
“It’s gone really well,” said Jason in an update to our premium iFollow channel. “We’ve looked at the stats from last season and we’re up on those stats in terms of distance covered and sprint distance within the first week.”
“There’s been no significant increase in terms of muscle soreness or tiredness, so for us it shows it’s been a good week and a successful week.”
With striker Kwesi Appiah having finished off his season in Norway with Viking and given time off, Jason is getting better acquainted with the other new faces in Neal’s new-look squad.
“The new signings and young players are fitting in really well. Obviously, I know Deji (Oshilaja) from when he was here on loan. I’m still getting to know Cody (McDonald). We’re trying to progress the young lads training programme from last season and to fit them in with this season.”
Spirits are also high in the offices at the training ground, where facilities have improved dramatically over the past couple of summers to accommodate coaching staff and players even better.
“It’s like the first day back at school! It’s been brilliant being back in the office and seeing the rest of the staff and laughing and joking. I’d been in half a day and it felt like we’d had no time off at all and it just flows. Because we’ve been together as a backroom staff for so long everyone knows what they expect from each other.”
“It’s phenomenal what the gaffer has done in terms of changing the environment at the training ground. We now have an analysis room, a nice, open plan office, the canteen has been renovated, there’s now a bigger changing room and a bigger treatment room for Dougy (physio Stuart Douglas) to work in.”
“It’s unbelievable the changes that have happened in the last few years around the place and it can only mean the environment is better, so that people want to spend more time here and develop the culture the gaffer is trying to create.”
Having successfully negotiated the first week back, Jason and his team of specialist volunteers will look to gradually increase the workload on the players in the lead up to the first pre-season friendly, which is now just over a week away.
“This first week and next week are all about the ability to work from the first to the last minute, until we go to 45 minutes for our first pre-season game (a week on Saturday at Eastleigh). From there we’ll look to increase intensity, so we’ll make it a lot shorter and sharper and then finally work on ability to get from box to box with the boys.”
“Players need time off and they get individual training programmes for the time off, depending on the amount of games they’ve played and they are asked to have two or three weeks total rest and relaxation. From there, we then start to build them up in terms of injury prevention and then a return to training programme which will involve running and just to prepare themselves for the increased workload.”
The full interview with AFC Wimbledon Sports Scientist Jason Moriarty, in which he gives a greater insight into his work as part of Neal’s backroom staff, is available to iFollow subscribers.