The season might be over for Doncaster Rovers Belles, but reporter Hayley Paterson reflects on what it was like to get the chance to train with the squad before their 2013 campaign began.
Walking upto the Belles’ training ground at Balby Carr Academy was more than a daunting prospect.
Then-manager John Buckley had kindly agreed to me training with the squad as they prepared for their 2013 FAWSL campaign.
Nervously putting on my borrowed and wrong-sized boots, I started to regret the takeway I’d had the night before as scores of cones marked out a series of training exercises - they looked truly horrific, what had I let myself in for?
I’ve played football (badly you might say if you watch the video). I used to play for the Belles between the ages of 11 to 17 before moving on to play for White Rose, Barnsley, Tadcaster and Wetherby.
But right now I was facing internationals, most of which towered over me as they confidently sprayed the ball around the park.
The women’s game has improved considerably, you could see that by looking at the girls’ technique.
They have more power and strength on the ball too and their fitness was something to be admired. I definitely had my work cut out (I think you’ll agree if you watch the video and to get to about 35 seconds).
Buckley had his side well drilled. Barking orders, his players would quickly split into ‘ranks’, jog on the spot and then sing a song - Guns N Roses’ ‘Paradise City’ seemed to be the tune of the hour picked by midfielder Emma Thomson who is now plying her trade in America.
After looking like a lost sheep for the first couple of orders (and keeping my lungs from bursting just from the warm-up) I slowly - and rather painfully - got into gear.
With the Belles banter also came punishment for a misplaced pass or otherwise.
Several ‘planks’ later and countless, painful press-ups done, I knew I was more suited to writing about football rather than playing it!
But I absolutely loved the chance to train with some real athletes. They might have had a turbulent season this campaign, but the Belles’ fortunes in next season’s WSL2 will surely be one to keep your eye out for.
Would you like Hayley to embarrass herself and try out a training session at your club? If so, email: firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll get back to you... if she’s brave enough.
Video by Kevin Neagle of Belles TV.