AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor believes pre-season has come a long way since the ‘old school’ days of when he was a player.
The Coasters kicked off their pre-season schedule at the weekend and Challinor believes players now come back in from the summer with a higher level of fitness.
“It’s a six-week process to have everybody fit by August 6th when the season kicks off. A lot of that will depend on what lads have done through the summer. Long gone are the days where time off is simply time off and you were starting from scratch when you came back in.
“Football has evolved massively even in terms of non-league and part time football. Players generally tend to keep up their fitness now so they have a good head start.
“It’s a very important part of the year because if you don’t get it right then you never really catch up.
“When I first started playing pre-season was very old school. At Tranmere we spent the first three days in the sand and the next two on the track so for a week we got absolutely battered. If you can get through that then you can get through anything and I think it sets you up mentally for the season.
“At the end of the day it isn’t there to be enjoyed and a lot of players will see it as a means to an end but it’s a key part of football now.
“Team selection on the first day of the season will depend a lot on what happens during pre-season so it’s in a players best interest to work hard.
Challinor believes the transition to full time football will benefit the Coasters straight away and hopes to bring in a few new faces over the coming weeks.
“We still have a couple of lads away so training will start in earnest this week. We are now only two weeks away from our first game but training every day gives us the chance to do double sessions so we have more time than we would usually have.
“We just have to make sure everyone is at the same level. The weekend was just an introduction to get people in and we might have a few trialists in with us too.
“We have fitness testing today and we will mould a programme around that. We will be doing a bit of ball work but it will be mostly fitness work for now.
“Next Monday will see a bit more dynamic training, with more ball work tailored towards games and aiming towards the first game against Stranraer next Friday. That will involve lads we already have committed to next year and some trialists in there too and we want to give everyone at least 45 minutes.
“Stranraer are ahead of us in their pre-season preparations because their season starts before ours so it will be a good guide to see where we are at physically.
“It’s been a difficult summer with losing players but we have a large portion of the squad sorted out now. We are still looking to bring in potentially six more players which is a new situation to us because we usually have our squad sorted a lot earlier.
“We will be looking at more players through pre-season and if they do well there is a chance to earn a deal.”