August 28, 2019, by Charlotte Gauja

#GreenandGold pre-season gets underway at the David Ross Sports Village

With pre-season now firmly underway we caught up with Head Coach Nick Tester to look ahead to the new season.

Pre-season. The words which usually strike fear into the heart of an athlete as they anticipate the hard work and dedication required to prepare the body (and the mind), for the rigors of the season ahead.

In most sports, once the competitive fixture and the league is underway it is more difficult for coaches to push the players physically – there are too many games to play and recover from – so it has to be done prior to ensure that athletes are in prime condition.

Aside from the physical aspect, socially it’s a great time to re-engage with friends, find out how everyone got on over the summer break, meet new teammates and build the social bonds that will be so important over the coming week and months.

There will be a number of teams heading back to David Ross Sports Village over the next few weeks in anticipation of the 2019/20 academic year. Following their first session in the High Performance Zone, we caught up with Men’s Football Head Coach, Nick Tester to discuss the season ahead.

“Last year was a meteoric rise from the first year that I joined University of Nottingham. To start with it was really a rebuilding process for us and trying to instil a culture and set a standard for the players to follow, but on the pitch last year much more successful than we really could have hoped for. To win the BUCS Trophy in Nottingham was incredible in front of our fans and then to go on and win Varsity against a strong NTU programme a fantastic achievement.”

“Looking ahead to this season, our aim is to be in the BUCS Premier league and to win the national trophy again and ideally to retain our Notts Varsity title. Across the entire club our challenge is to win the 4 leagues we are competing in so we have the highest expectation of ourselves and it’s a matter of putting the processes in place to support this.”

“The boys are now back in for pre-season starting their fitness programmes, but for the coaching team the hard work actually started 10 months ago with planning for who was leaving and starting to recruit for who was coming in and looking at how we can strengthen. We have made great strides in getting the University of Nottingham name out there in terms of football and even though this is the first day that the players are back on grass, it feels like a culmination of a lot of hard work even though were are some way off the start of the season.”

“Whilst, today the boys get into physical stuff, what I’m looking for is for them to bond quickly and to understand that yes we are competing for places but its just as important to create a unit to support and back each other. To find a culture of excellence in everything we do on and off the pitch and I’m looking for each player to set individual standards to give the best possible chance of being the best version of themselves.”

“I’m really proud that we are now recognised across the country for our football programme. Coming in this year as first years we have got players who have played for the likes of Reading, Brentford, Southampton and clubs all across the country including top independent schools feeding into the development of our squad. Added to that we have master’s students who bring a wealth of experience, players who have all played in States, in Australia, or played professionally.”

“How they bond together is about how we create an environment which is hard work but fun. Having a 6 week pre-season really helps that and with the lads lodging and living together it will really help develop strong relationships.”

“We are obviously sad to lose some big names from last year and wish them well in graduating and moving on to the next chapter in their lives which will no doubt be a successful one. To lose someone like Andrew Drylie as a captain in particular is a significant loss but we had so many huge characters last year and you hope that that culture has been set. In our first team meeting of the year we put a huge emphasis on culture and what we expect on and off the pitch, whether that’s increasing participation or supporting the local community and setting the standards in commitment to study or training.”

“I think everyone understands that, when we recruit and identify individuals who we are looking to join us, we are always conscious that they will feed into our culture and contribute to it and be an ambassador for the University of Nottingham.”

“Off the field we have a duty to give back and  it was an honor to be invited to the Sporting Excellence Awards dinner this year to see Ollie Robinson stand up and talk about the work the club has done off the pitch in support of mental health and charity work. I think footballers generally get bad press because negative portrayals in the media are so high profile.  However, what we can do is demonstrate what dual-career student footballers should be like right through the club from top-to-bottom. “

“I want us to be a hardworking, good mannered and respectful group, that set good standards and if we can contribute to image and profile of the University along the way then we will have achieved something special.”

“We are looking forward to the season ahead with some pride on what we have built and the direction we are heading in is really positive.”

 You can follow all of our 76 University of Nottingham’s teams this year on our TwitterFacebookand Instagram and also here. There will also be regular updates on the BUCS official website and social media channels.

If you are heading to University of Nottingham this year then head to our Welcome Website for new students and #FindYourActive!

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