RECALLING all too well, and with a wince, the days when pre-season training meant run after seemingly endless run, Ian Bogie believes a more ball-orientated approach to preparing for the new season will ensure his Gateshead side are in prime shape come the start of the Blue Square Bet Premier campaign.
The Tynesiders began planning for their league opener at Luton Town next month by being put through a series of fitness tests on Monday.
New signings James Brown, Adam Bartlett, Chris Bush and Glenn Wilson all took a full and active part, along with a host of young apprentices set to augment an 18-man senior squad.
But there was more to training than simple sprints.
And as Bogie seeks to build on a reputation for playing attractive, possession-based football, he is determined to ensure that while his players work hard, so too does the ball.
“It’s been a busy couple of days back,” Bogie (right) said. “We’ve been training mornings and afternoons, and it’s going well. Like anyone when they first come back, the players have little aches and pains.
“They’ve been keeping themselves ticking over on their own during the summer, but the higher intensity of training together and being put through their paces takes its toll.
“They’ll have the weekend off to rest and recover, but right now it’s important they work hard.
“The good thing is that training is almost all ball related, and not like the old days when you just went running for the first week.
“I remember doing it myself, but it’s not the approved approach now.
“We work the lads hard, with high intensity, but it’s also a lot of small sided games, getting on the ball and working on touch and technique, passing and movement. It’s all about being fully prepared for August 11, that’s the most important thing.”
The Heed kick off at Conference National favourites Luton Town on Saturday, August 11, followed by home games against well-fancied Mansfield Town and Forest Green Rovers.
But before then they face a series of pre-season friendlies starting at Ebac Northern League neighbours Dunston UTS next Wednesday night (7.30pm kick-off).
And Bogie added: “We’ll treat the first few games as fitness sessions, and give everybody a half-hour run-out.
“After that we’ll start building towards out best XI, work on set-pieces and make sure we’re ready for August 11.”