St Mirren pre-season training focus as Stephen Robinson lifts lid on appliance of science

St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson
-Credit: (Image: SNS Group)

Stephen Robinson reckons footballers fearing pre-season training is all in the mind because these days it’s about the appliance of science.

The St Mirren players returned to Ralston to begin their build up for next season’s big kick-off on Monday.

Summer signings Ellery Balcombe, Shaun Rooney, Oisin Smyth and Roland Idowu met their new team-mates as the Buddies aim to build on last season’s fifth-placed Premiership finish and European qualification.

Saints’ first competitive game will be in the UEFA Conference League second qualifying round at FC Valur in Iceland or Albania's FK Vllaznia Shkoder next month.

Before then, however, it is the dreaded summer slog which, this year, includes a Spanish training camp.

Boss Robbo endured plenty of gruelling pre-season campaigns but insists it’s more scientific patter than physical batter these days. He smiled as he told the Paisley Daily Express: “Half of it is in their head if I’m being honest!

“Everything is done with the ball and everything is dictated by sport science and modern technology.

“Unfortunately, there is no place to hide. The data tells you how far you run and how fast you run; how many accelerations and decelerations.

“Everything is very scientific in terms of pre-season and has been pretty much since I started out in management. Players just like to moan!

“It is tough but it is all based on being fit for the first game of the season. The pre-season games don’t matter to me. They are about getting minutes into players’ legs and working on shape and understanding.

“Ultimately, you want to be ready for that first game of the season and I think we’ve proved that with availability for selection in terms of fitness.

“The break used to be eight or nine weeks but has got smaller and smaller to the point that three weeks is the norm although it is longer this year.

“We’re a team that never gives up. We run and run and run and to do that you need a really good base in pre-season.

“For them to think anything I do is a hard pre-season, they’re kidding themselves! They’re living the dream with the pre-seasons they’re getting.

“I’ve seen some crazy pre-seasons on beaches. I remember Bournemouth beach. At Preston we were on a beach. There were a lot tougher runs than what they get now.”

But Robbo insists there is a time and a place for testing players’ fitness – demonstrated by Everton boss Sean Dyche.

He added: “I like what Sean does the odd time and throws in a run that is a bit of a mental test because during the season there are a lot of mental blocks and times which are low when you need to be strong mentally.

“All the physical fitness in the world doesn’t get you through that. Mentally, you have to be very strong.”

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