Unless you’re Phil Neville, you don’t enjoy pre-season. The summertime blow out comes back to bite once you set foot on the training pitch.
But don’t let the fear of burning muscles put you off the hard yards, says Brentford’s peak performance coach Tom Bates. Embrace what lies ahead and you’ll reap the benefits when the season kicks off.
"There are always going to be challenges in pre-season and right after challenge lies growth," says Bates. "Growth means that we can always improve on our standards; always develop, evolve and be better than yesterday. That thought is quite an empowering one.
"What are the challenges in pre-season? The fitness trials and tribulations. The running. The hard running. The slogs. Swimming. Cycling. All of those fitness regimes you have to get yourself through. ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘it’s too tough for me’: those thoughts are the problems.
"Snap yourself back: you’re in control. Prepare and set realistic goals for yourself - they are so, so important."