IT sounds like a lot of fun but there was much more to Port Adelaide’s pre-season camp paintball session than letting off a little steam.
Players and coaches on the camp on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast split into teams and donned camouflage overalls and safety masks before taking to a course filled with sheets of metal, rain water tanks and trees.
And while there were laughs all round as players got one back on their coaches for the gruelling work they’ve been put through over the past few days, Senior Assistant Coach, Michael Voss revealed there was a deeper reason to the activity.
“The aim is to have some fun but to put some context in behind it, obviously we ask our players to think on their feet on the ground and with the current environment with there being limited runners, they have to have the ability to forge a plan together, be able to stay with the plan but also to be able to adjust around it,” he explained during a press conference at the skirmish venue at Aussie Land.
“We’re having some fun but we’re trying to get a few learnings out of it as well.
“One of our main things coming out of this (camp) is resilience and being able to adapt in certain situations.
“This is just a different way for players to get out there and have a fun way to plan and work through things. If a team is doing something, how do we adapt to it.
“It’s nice to be able to have a few more learnings without having to run the track and get the k’s up.”
In the early rounds, the coaches came out on top, capturing the flag and holding onto it until the time ran out.
“We achieved our objective as a coaches team but we brought no man back – I think only two made it through but we got the flag so that’s the most important thing,” Voss joked.
“Even for us, it’s about having some fun with the players and just maybe it gives an opportunity for some of the players to get a bit back.
“There seems a bit more of a vigour in their planning that’s for sure.”
It was eventually a team of players including Travis Boak, Charlie Dixon and Ollie Wines that claimed overall victory.
The camp has mostly been planned by Voss and the club’s Head of High Performance, Ian McKeown.
The Brisbane Lions premiership captain said he’d been impressed with the hard work put in by the side so far with three days of the camp down and three remaining.
“The biggest thing we don’t want is injuries so still to get through the camp with a fit list is most important but we do raise the intensity,” Voss said.
“We’ve spoken a bit about how the work rate does go up significantly so we’re always going to flirt with some risk there for some long-term gain in that.
“And then the other things that we’re trying to achieve and people that we’ve been able to listen to and night sessions we’ve been able to complete has given us a real firm direction for 2020.”