Albion players report back ready for Austria
ALBION'S first teamers report back knowing their pre-season training will never be tougher than in the first week.
Head Coach Tony Pulis makes no secret of his belief in the merits of the punishing fitness work which will go on in the remote Alpine landscape he has long favoured.
It certainly seemed to work. The Baggies got through last season with very few players lost to the "soft tissue" injuries which can restrict Pulis's selection options.
It's a hard slog for the Baggies but the man running the drills, fitness coach Matt Green is convinced it pays in the long run.
"The boys can be expecting a very similar week to the one they had in Austria last year," he says.
"Typically that week is three sessions a day.
"The first session is the cardio session where they will complete cycling or running and that work is interval based so it’s not for long periods, more short and intense blocks with recovery between those blocks.
"The second session is in the middle of the day and it is their strength and conditioning session.
"That will be a mix of group-based work and individual work which will be scheduled based on their screening test results.
"The final session is in the early evening and that is the football session so we will be down at training pitches doing some football specific work where Tony will be able to work on tactical and technical aspects, but there will be physical elements to that as well.
"Most players will find Austria the hardest part of pre-season because that is when the biggest volume of work comes from.
"As we progress through pre-season the work they do becomes more football-specific, bright and explosive.
"Some players find the work without the ball the hardest whereas others will be very comfortable aerobically.
"Last season we had an excellent record in maintaining a low amount of soft tissue injuries which as a science and medical department, that is one of our goals.
"We are hoping to use similar methods this pre-season to achieve similar results this season."
The squad report back over the next couple of days to undergo screening tests.
"It gives us a gauge of what condition the boys have come back in and who has been maintaining their level of fitness over the summer," Green explains.
"We can make sure they are fit to proceed for the pre-season schedule by doing the screening tests and we can also individualise their training.
"That week in Austria last year set us up well for the rest of pre-season and the season in general."