Berlin – Medicine balls, resistance bands and agility ladders were all set up as the Herthaner stepped onto the training pitch on Tuesday 2nd July. After a relatively easy start to preseason yesterday, these items served as a small hint of what Ante Čović’s team could expect in the first phase of preseason training: hard, sweaty, exhausting work. The days of conditioning without the ball are long gone, but there’s no escaping the universally disliked endurance drills. “The impression the lads have left is that they are very focused and engaged,” Čović said in praise of his side’s enthusiasm and commitment, who were also clearly enjoying the session.
It’s understandable given that fitness coach Henrik Kuchno’s training program during the session was quickly followed by some ball work. Naturally, everything took place under the watchful eye of Čović and his assistants Harald Gämperle and Mirko Dickhaut, who were yelling out instructions. “Right now we are in a phase where we can allow our players some mistakes, since they have just come back from holiday. However, at the same time we are of course giving them valuable instructions such as how to develop the play, having confidence in the centre and always wanting to have the ball,” said the 43-year-old coach. While Dedryck Boyata and Mathew Leckie trained individually with Hendrik Vieth, today’s training featured the same players as yesterday’s session.
After two sessions on Tuesday (the afternoon session is scheduled to begin at 16:00 CEST), the players will head off to Neuruppin. There, the team will up the intensity of their workouts in their first of two training camps. “In the afternoon we will change the emphasis to be more on conditioning,” said Čović. While the coach was speaking, the fitness trainers and physiotherapists were busy putting away the notorious training items in preparation for training camp.