The team meeting and the WhatsApp arse-lick - every club team's December
This is our year. Again.
If you don't train, you won't play. That's what they say but you also won't win anything without your best players.
Every year, clubs go through the same rigmarole trying to win a championship but then it usually just descends into trying to get boys to training.
Here are the classic phases we're all too aware of.
1. The text
2. The meeting
This isn't so much a meeting as it is a meeting about a meeting. This is a statement of intent. You're going to take things seriously this year and you're going to have a meeting in the near future.
3. The text
4. The actual meeting
Sometime in December. In the main hall. Food laid on. Someone will make a joke about not eating biscuits in front of the manager. A flip board will be used. Record numbers in attendance.
Big push this year.
5. The new backroom team
Probably seven-strong at this early optimistic stage.
New conditioning coach, someone in to do performance analysis, an old player in to win the respect of the team and a new lad from a different parish who "wasn't good enough to play for them but now he's coaching us?"
6. The manager knows what went wrong last year
But that's his little secret.
7. Training schedule
January and February is planned out on the wall in the most organised, coordinated fashion that the club has ever seen. Every single session for the next two months is slotted in, the type of session, where it will take place and four friendlies have even been arranged.
You won't see this schedule after February.
8. If you don't train, you don't play
9. Someone has already scuppered that theory
10. The manager will create a Facebook group
That will immediately be ruined by intruders.
Everything from bench pressing to timed runs to sit and reach tests, you'll have your fat taken and maybe even be psychologically profiled. You won't see or talk about these results again.
Someone will come in and tell you not to eat shit.
14. Pre-season Paul
You know the boy. Every year, without fail, he shows up full of the best intentions. He'll put himself through the hard slog, he might even do alright in the challenge games but, come February - March latest - he's gone. Until next year.
16. The arse-lick
17. Pre-training gym session
The same players are so enthused at the prospect of still being undefeated that they're pumping iron before training. For now.
So long as the manager can see of course.
18. Full-kit w*nker
Alright, you got a load of new training gear for Christmas but... don't be that guy.
19. If you don't train, you don't play