16 Weeks to IC14

Clearly competing for Canada at the 2014 International Cup is the primary focus for Jen and me this year. We can do as much fitness training as possible in the lead up to Melbourne in August, but it will all be for naught unless we’re also able to improve our actual game skills as well. In tightly contested matches, fitness is only a part of the equation – decision making, skill execution, and poise under pressure are several additional characteristics that make great footy players. Unfortunately, due to geographical expanse of our country, the Canadian national teams are essentially only able to get together as a group to train and play, once a year. Yes, the GTHA based players have been meeting every other week for some great sessions, but a lot of the skill and player progression is a result of club training sessions. It’s fortunate for us that our club team, the Central Blues (bluesafc.ca), has been fairly consistent in training during the off-season since December!

Attendance had been up and down for the first couple months, but as March rolled in, the faithful Blues men and women were gradually emerging from their respective winter hibernations to show their shiny faces at our twice a week training sessions. Additionally, we’ve had an influx of new (and some returning after a brief hiatus) players who seem keen as mustard to learn, and improve their footy skills. So much so that this past Saturday, at our last indoor weekend training session at Monarch Park, we had upwards of 45 participants on the pitch. While it occasionally got a bit crowded, having an overabundance of enthusiastic players is an amazing “problem” to have. As the weather has (finally…) turned nice here in Toronto, we’re now taking this party outside after the Easter long weekend to work on our kicks, hand balls, marks, shepherds, and (if we’re lucky) our tans too.

Based on my observations throughout this past month, if we continue to receive the same type of commitment from players to put in effort at training, I can honestly say that I would not at all be surprised to see every single Blues team (Div. 1, Div. 2, and Women’s) to be competing in finals come September. So while the IC is still 16 weeks away, Round 1 of the AFLO season for the Central Blues starts up in just 6 weeks out in Guelph. To say I’m anything less than fired up to get this season started would be a massive understatement!

Nothing too crazy in the way of multimedia features this week – just a quick video of the Blues having some fun at the end of our last indoor training for 2014. Since we’re slightly restricted in terms of space at one of the gyms we train at, playing an actual scrimmage game of footy is unrealistic – so we’ve taken to modifying other sports instead: this week it was basketball!

Lastly, if anyone is at all interested in trying his or her hand at Aussie rules football in Toronto, I’d highly recommend coming to check out the Central Blues! You can find more info in regards to training times and locations at bluesafc.ca, or just get ahold of Jen or me and we can give you more accurate details!

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