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Tim Hopkinson - Nottingham Forest FC

Fancy Myself as a Ronaldo

03/10/08 |

After looking fit throughout most of the game on Saturday, it was important that we kept our fitness up, so on Monday we started off by doing two timed perimeter runs. This consists of running around the whole of the academy site at a good high pace. We did a warm-up lap first, had a few stretches and then set out for the two runs.

Normally to get round in about eight minutes – so four minutes a lap – would be a good pace. I was up amongst the front runners and we set a very high pace, we managed to get round in seven minutes which shows how much fitter we are than pre-season because we were struggling then to get around in eight minutes.

After that good run I was knackered but the standard of the passing drill we did immediately after was pretty high. Then we split up and had an 8-a-side which lacked a bit of quality because I think some lads fatigued a little bit towards the end of the session. We had lunch as usual, then went through our debrief in the afternoon which is when we have a look at the weekends game and identify what we’ve done well and what we could maybe do better next time if that sort of situation occurs again.

The debrief normally takes twenty minutes to half an hour, straight after that we went out to train again. We did some technique work with a coach called Norris to work on a few skills to be able to put in to games. I fancy myself in these sessions as a Cristiano Ronaldo but unfortunately for me my feet just aren’t quick enough at step-overs and most certainly won’t ever be as quick as his! We finished off that afternoon with a series of 3-a-side two minute games in the small goals with the keepers which was very intense but a good blow out.

This week I’ve had a couple of activities associated with Forest outside my training periods, the first of which was golf on Tuesday night at a driving range in Lenton. We had a pro-golfer come and practice with us and work on our swings, however, after a double days training my head was gone after about ten or fifteen minutes because I was that tired so most of my shots ended up going exactly where I hadn’t aimed for them to go.

On Thursday night, a few of us went out to do some coaching with one of the shadow squads down at Highfields training ground. For our Level 2 Coaching Certificates we have to have completed 12 hours of coaching before the start of November and at the moment I’ve only done about five so I’ve got to get some hours in.

The emphasis of the session was on turning, so I took an under 14’s session with Darlow and we did some different drills with them to work on their turning skills. We started off by doing unopposed turning, going through a range of turns like the cruyff, the rivelino, step over, drag back etc… We then got a passing drill going with two turns in it and what stood out to me was the tempo at which these youngsters were doing the drill, they started with a high tempo and this was maintained throughout the drill which was good to see from young players. I went in goal for a penalty shoot-out after that while Darlow sorted the pitch out, and to be fair I was poor and let in more than I saved!

Match: Leeds United v Nottingham Forest

We had a journey up north on Saturday to play Leeds hoping to build on the first win of the season we had last week. The journey was good and everyone looked fresh stepping off the bus. We spoke briefly before the game about enjoying working hard for the team, playing with freedom and playing to our strengths as well. The warm up seemed a bit quiet, but we started off the game with a very high tempo and on the front foot. I picked up the ball in the first few minutes and thought why not have a run at the defenders to see how fast they are and got past him to the by line and had a cross blocked which went for a corner.

We again showed no fear and ran at them from most positions and passed the ball with intent to cause them problems every time we had possession. We created a few chances in the first half and as time went on we dominated play. After all the hard work we’d done we made two critical errors in the same position, which lead to us conceding two sloppy goals against the run of play. We went in at half time 2 – 0 down which wasn’t a clear reflection of the first half.

In the second half we really thought we could get something out of the game, we pressurised them a lot and attacked them in numbers which lead to us being vulnerable to the counter attack but it was then a very end to end game. During the second half I felt the fittest I have done all season and was able to run at defenders with the ball and close them down without getting out of breath which was having a great effect and meant we set the tempo even higher than in the first half.

We had chances to score, however, the keeper pulled off a few great saves. I had one cleared off the line near the end that I should have scored but the keeper saved. The game finished 2 – 0 and fair play to Leeds because they did take their chances, however, overall it was one of them days when the ball just wouldn’t go in the net for us. Our coach said we did play well for most of the game, but we just need to take our chances and not make costly mistakes. We have a long away trip next week when we take on Sunderland in search of our first away win of the season.