RECALLING REDS: Pre-season uncertainty and McLeod’s training tricks

Ryan Richefond. Picture by James Boardman
Ryan Richefond. Picture by James Boardman

Former Crawley Town player Ryan Richefond is lifting the lid after he suffered the setback of being released from the professional game.

The midfielder made limited appearances for Reds after securing a one-year deal in 2014 after progressing through the club’s youth ranks.

The 19-year-old, who is writing a series of columns for us, recalls his time at Crawley fondly and is still close to many former and current players as he refuses to give up on his dream.

So pre-season is well underway. This is generally a time of excitement but also one of uncertainty, as you reunite with old team-mates and welcome the new.

Thinking back to the end of the 2013/14 season at Crawley Town, we were sat in the changing room as each player was called into the office to have their fate told to them by the manager and chief executive.

By the time all meetings had concluded, I started working out how many players we would have for the following season!

The answer, not many! I remember reading the Twitter page during the off-season seeing who was coming in, trying to work out what player they were here to replace and wondering where it would leave me.

This being my first senior pre-season meant that I would be meeting a lot of new faces; it’s true what they say about football, it is its own bubble, you are sure to meet someone you know or a friend of a friend at some point after walking in the door.

And since then, I have trained with multiple teams and always found someone I know at each of the clubs.

Generally the first day of preseason will be a testing day, looking at the body fat, height, weight, strength, power and base level fitness of the players.

This gives the fitness coaches and physios something to compare later results with. Then as the weeks progress, the manger will start to focus less on fitness and more on his ideas and tactics that he believes will bring us success.

As a player I have always tried to make sure I win every test put before me as fitness and looking after your body is something that every player should be capable of, as it is your job!

This being said, last year’s pre-season I learnt a lesson from Izale Mcleod. No one could ever fault Izale’s commitment or effort on the pitch, but off it, he is one of the most laid back and funniest characters I have met.

We were on the athletics track, being timed for long, mid and short-distance runs. I was powering through each run making sure that I was at the front and smashing the time limit set for each. After the last long distance run I noticed that Iz was jogging in and just about making the time set.

I light-heartedly had a dig at him about his fitness, hoping to provoke a reaction. He just smiled at me and said, ‘lad I’m 31 years old, I know my body. You’ve got to beat these times in a couple of weeks, good luck!’ laughed and walked away.

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