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Jasper's diary - Jan 15

Jasper Pittard bursts away at training
Jasper Pittard bursts away at training

Hi Power fans,

Happy New Year to you and your family. I hope everyone had a great Christmas, a nice break and a brilliant start to 2013.

Welcome to another edition of my pre-season diary. With our break for Christmas it’s been a few weeks since my last diary entry so here’s a marathon version summarising my time off and the first week and a half of training back here at the club for a new year. I hope you enjoy it and it gives you an insight into how hard the group is working ahead of our upcoming NAB Cup campaign.

Friday 21 December

The players met at Alberton at 8.00am for our last training session of the year. It had already been a very tough week and there were rumours going around that we might finish off with an extremely gruelling session. So as the boys gathered for training there was a bit of apprehension because no one quite knew what to expect.

The session started off in typical fashion with a warm-up and 15 minutes of light skills to get the legs moving. For a brief moment I thought we were going to be in for a really tough ball session but after our warm up our fears came true when our High Performance Manager Darren Burgess calmly told us we were going to do 100 x 100 metre sprints within a designated time to finish off 2012. I think our first instinct was shock because a lot of our group would not have done anything like this before. But two hours later, after plenty of sweat and tears, I can tell you that every player on our list got through the session with great support from all our players and coaches. In fact, we ended up doing more than 100 with the fitness staff losing count at about 105. Not only was it challenging physically, but also mentally, and the achievement of our young group getting through this gruelling session will hold us in great stead.

After training, as a reward for a good start to our pre-season, we all headed out for the afternoon on a boat organised by Dom. The boat cruised up from the Holdfast Marina in a southerly direction past Brighton and Marino Rocks allowing the boys, as exhausted as they were, to take in the beautiful sights of the Adelaide coast.

On return, the group unwound at the Dublin Hotel in Moseley Square at Glenelg. Robbie and Boaky have recently acquired a share in the pub and I strongly recommend you to check it out, especially for a relaxing beverage on a balmy Sunday afternoon.

Saturday 22 December – Tuesday 25 December

My first day on break and I was at Adelaide Airport bright and early to fly back to Melbourne to visit some family and friends. On arrival, my first stop was Torquay to visit my Dad and Step Mum and my two younger sisters, seven year-old Stellaluna and Matisse who is eight. It was great to be able to relax with my family and spend some quality time with my sisters leading up to Christmas.

Tuesday 25 December – Friday 28 December

I spent the first half of Christmas day with my family in Torquay and then headed down the highway to Melbourne to visit my Mum, my older brother Matthew and their side of the family. Again, it was great to spend part of Christmas day and the following few days taking it easy with Mum and Matthew. As with anyone in any job when you live in another city away from your family you really look forward to catching up with them and sharing some quality time, especially at Christmas.

Friday 28 December – Sunday 30 December

After a few days in Melbourne, it was back to Torquay to see Stellaluna for her eighth birthday on December 30 and to spend some time with my girlfriend Grace who currently lives in Geelong. It was also a good opportunity to see some old friends and school mates who I hadn’t seen for some time.

While in Torquay, I did manage to also see one familiar face every second day – Boaky. Travis and I would catch up every other day to do some training. It’s just so important to keep yourself in good condition over the festive period and not to waste all the work we had put in prior to Christmas. So Boaky and I did a combination of long distance running along the Bells Beach running track and sprint work at the local Torquay football oval along with regular gym work.

Monday 31 December

Grace and I headed back up the highway to the big smoke of Melbourne to see out 2012. It was a very enjoyable, relaxed New Year’s Eve. We took in a band at a pub in the city, caught up with a few friends, took part in the big countdown to midnight to welcome in 2013 and headed home not long after.

Tuesday 1 January

With only a couple of days of break left, I took the opportunity to sleep in. Once up and about, I headed out for a run around Brunswick where my mum lives, just to get the legs moving and the blood pumping for 2013.

After lunch I spent the remainder of the day relaxing at my Mum’s place with Grace, taking in some TV on the couch.

Wednesday 2 January

I hopped on the big bird and flew back into Adelaide ahead of our first day back at training. It was good to catch up with my housemates Hitchy and Johnny Butcher and it was even better to see that they kept the house in reasonable condition.

Once settled in, I spent most of the day indoors trying to keep cool and chatting to the boys about what they did over their break.

After dinner, I endured the unenviable task of unpacking my bags and sorting out my washing. Back to reality in a big way! Once that task was accomplished it was pretty much off to bed for an early night to get ready for our return to pre-season the following morning.

Thursday 3 January

The boys met at the club at 8.00am genuinely excited and enthused about returning to pre-season and starting off where from where we finished at the end of 2012.

A 3km time trial kicked off our new year and the entire playing group produced excellent times, with most beating their previous times from our original 3km time trials in November. The standouts were Kane Cornes, of course, and two of our new recruits – young Sam Colqhoun and rookie Kane Mitchell. Normally Kane wins it comfortably, but Sam and Mitch really pushed him this time around and the old wily veteran only just got over the line.

The remainder of the day was spent working on our skills, doing weights in the gym and having our skin folds measured. Again, every player’s “skinnies” were very good which certainly brought a smile to Burgo and his fitness group.

Friday 4 January

I woke up to three words – forty five degrees. That’s right the expected maximum in Adelaide for today was a staggering forty five degrees and knowing Burgo, who spent two and half years freezing in the UK at Liverpool, he absolutely loves it and loves pushing us in the heat.

Still, the boys met at Alberton very keen to work hard, embrace the conditions and get as much out of the session as possible. Our main training session was held from 9.00am at which point the mercury was already heading towards forty degrees. As a result we were afforded a few extra hydration breaks but needless to say it was still an incredibly demanding and intense session.  Despite the heat, the group trained very well and coach Kenny Hinkley was a very happy man.

After training, we did some more weights and then had a recovery session involving stretching, ice baths and pool work.

Saturday 5 January

As we have done every Saturday morning this pre-season the group met at North Adelaide for another running session starting off at the University loop. We started off with repeat speed running drills followed by some hill runs around near the hospital.

To escape the heat in the afternoon I went over to a mate’s place that has a pool. I do choose my friends very wisely, especially on a forty two degree day!

That night I headed to Marion Megaplex to take in The Hobbit, a vast improvement on Pitch Perfect, the chick flick that Kane Cornes recommended to us a few weeks earlier. I’m a big fan of a fantasy flick and, despite it going for a marathon three hours, I really enjoyed it. It’s a solid 7/10 and if you have half a day to spare I’d highly recommend it.

Sunday 6 January

Today is our rostered day off so I took the opportunity for a lazy sleep in.

After breakfast, I picked up the mop, fired up the Hoover vacuum cleaner and completed some chores around the house. In the afternoon, I headed down to Henley Beach for a swim to get some relief from the scorching temperature and after a couple of hours there I headed home, cooked some dinner and had an early night ahead of another big week’s training.

Monday 7 January

I woke up to some great news – finally some relief from the heat wave. Although today’s forecast was forty degrees, it certainly felt a lot cooler in the morning for the start of training with the sun not having the same sting in it.

Despite this there was no relief on the track with Burgo and the coaches putting us through one of the hardest sessions of our pre-season so far. Plenty of running, plenty of ball work and plenty of competitive drills would sum up training the best.

Following our session, we did weights followed by our usual recovery session to aid our weary bodies.

Tuesday 8 January

Tuesdays are generally a lighter day and the group met at the club to do our usual pilates session, which builds our core strength, along with a weights session and then recovery.

Line meetings followed where we sit down with our assistant coaches and discuss and work on specific individual areas that need special focus.

Wednesday 9 January

Back at the club at 8.00am to prepare for our main session. The group is particularly looking forward to today because it’s our “Members Only” session where members have the opportunity to come in and watch a session that would normally be closed.

It was great to see so many members come along and I know the group loves the support and interest. Keep an eye on our club website for updates but every session on Wednesday for the remainder of January will be open for Members.

During training the group took part in a lot of high intensity hand ball games which work on both our fitness and ball movement. We finished the session off strongly with some full ground match simulation.

In the afternoon, we had our usual weights and massage session and completed the day with a demanding grappling session in the now-famous sandpit behind the southern goals at Alberton.

Thursday 10 January

As has been the case throughout pre-season, Thursdays are our rostered day off so I chose to pinch an extra hour’s sleep to freshen up and relax after a tough week.

After breakfast I headed down to Grange beach for some individual recovery. I’m not sure how it all works but it’s amazing how soothing sea water is on some aching muscles. It was instant relief and I felt fresh and ready for the day ahead.

I stayed down at Grange for a bite to eat and decided to take in a movie at Arndale in the afternoon. This time I saw Gangster Squad starring Ryan Gosling. It was very entertaining and well worth seeing and just like The Hobbit I’m adjudging it to be 7/10. One thing I didn’t realise was how much a hit with the ladies Ryan Gosling is. They love him! There were shrieks of delight every time he was on screen and that was just from Hitchy…you can imagine how the women were carrying on!

Friday 11 January

The group met at the club bright and early for another typically hot pre-season session.

We enjoyed another solid session involving plenty of running and focussing on skills and ball movement.

After training, groups took part in their usual weights session followed by “craft” where players work with their development and assistant coaches on individual needs and focus areas.

Saturday 12 January

For the first Saturday this pre-season, the boys gathered at Alberton for an early morning session.

We spent part of the session taking part in running drills on the oval while the remainder of the session was spent doing weights in our gym.

After training, I spent the afternoon with Grace who had flown over from Melbourne. It was great to see her again and we went to the movies to see Life of Pi a movie about a young man who survives a disaster at sea and who is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. Crikey…I’ve seen that many movies lately I’m starting to sound like Bill Collins! Anyhow, I’ve been slightly harder with my assessment of this flick giving it a 6/10 which is still no disgrace.

In the evening Grace and I went to a good friend’s engagement party which was a lot of fun and a great celebration.

Sunday 13 January

I spent my entire day off with Grace before she is set to fly back to Melbourne tomorrow.

I consider myself a genuine romantic at heart so I decided to take her to the Endota Spa in Rundle Street for the full spa works. It was unbelievably relaxing. We enjoyed a massage together followed by a facial. It was great…they certainly removed a few black heads from my beak and we both felt so invigorated afterwards.

That evening we headed out to one my favourite restaurants, Gauchos, for a succulent steak which was amazing and a great end to fantastic day with Grace.

Monday 14 January

Once again the group met at Alberton for another early training session involving running, ball work and competitive drills.

After the session the groups split into groups for weights and then recovery which involved stretching, ice baths and pool work.

In the afternoon the entire playing group had to take part in a special photo session for this season’s upcoming XBOX and Playstation AFL game. The way they put these games together is quite extraordinary. Each player presents topless for an individual photo session where they take 14 photos from different angles of players in various poses. Then in post-production they photoshop guernseys onto the bodies and somehow merge all the still images together and apply them to 1800 different football manoeuvres involving tackling, marking, kicking, handballing, bouncing etc. which are previously filmed with other actors. So it was a very interesting way to complete our day at the club.

This brings me to the end of this diary entry. I hope it provided some insight into my life at and away from the club and most importantly gives you an understanding of how hard the playing and coaching group are working as we head toward season 2013. Can you believe that we are just over a month away from our first NAB Cup game against the Crows and the Saints at AAMI Stadium on Sunday 17 February? We can’t wait for the start of the season and we hope you can join the journey with us. If you haven’t renewed your membership or you have never been a member but are keen to support our young group as we move forward check out for a range of membership packages or call the club on 1300 GO PAFC. I look forward to writing another diary entry for you in the next couple of weeks. Go Power!



The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs