The transition from Schoolboy to Apprentice has been interesting and personally quite tough. There’s a lot of information to take in, as well as getting used to training every day instead of just 3 times a week.
As soon as I was offered my scholarship my mind was focussed on the next season and how I was going to go about it. The Academy fitness coach, Howard Gray, gave all the Apprentices an off-season fitness programme to do so that we all came back in reasonably good shape. None of us like the running, but we all know we have to do it if we want to get to the top. For me, the running was even tougher as I had missed the final two and a half months of the season with Achilles Tendinopathy. As a result of this injury I now have to wear Foot Orthotics (a specially designed inner sole) in both shoes, to align my body properly and get my muscles working in the correct way. It has been tough getting used to them as they have completely changed the biomechanics of my body. My body is now working differently than I have been used to for 17 years, so it has taken some adjusting to.
One of the unfortunate bi-products of this readjustment and the orthotics is that I have suffered a few niggling groin and hamstring injuries which have been so frustrating. After running my socks off during the off-season to return in good shape, injuries were the last thing I needed. It forced me to miss the opening games of our pre-season tour to Sweden (something I will talk about in a later blog) which was one of the hardest things I’ve had to go through within my time at Palace.
The Podiatrist has told me to expect some problems during the first three months of wearing them. I am now coming to the end of that period so I hope she’s right! Being injured is a horrible thing and it’s something I have had to endure recently. You don’t get injured on purpose and it’s not a nice feeling when 10:30 comes, the boys are going out to train and you’re stuck in the physio room or heading to the gym. It’s something I’ve had to deal with though and hopefully some luck will come my way soon.
I’m desperate for a decent run of training so that I can build up my confidence again in both mind and body. I would say it has made me mentally stronger and has helped me to get to know and understand my body better.
To end on a positive, the lads have started the season well. It’s up to us to build on the good start and to have a really positive season