St Blazey boss Matt Hayden says that time during the lockdown period for him personally and his players has been spent wisely.
For Hayden specifically, who has recently celebrated two years in charge at Blaise Park alongside his joint-manager Shaun Vincent, he has been looking at the work of other managers and coaches for inspiration, guidance and advice.
Blazey’s first team playing squad, meanwhile, have been ‘ticking over’ in terms of fitness according to their manager in preparation for their first match post-lockdown, which is scheduled to be against Saltash United at Blaise Park on December 5.
Speaking to the Voice recently, Hayden also says that despite levels of match fitness dropping off in the shutdown, every club will be in the same position meaning Blazey will start on the same page as everyone else.
He said: Like the last lockdown, this one has given me an opportunity to read up more on football coaching and managing. I’ve been reading books, watching interviews and videos so I’ve used the time, for me personally, to try and learn more from all different kinds of managers and coaches, form all different levels.
As for the players, we have set out a fitness regime for them to abide by and now, because of the lockdown, the boys have been using it as an opportunity to get some extra hours in at their respective jobs I don’t blame them for that because we are in the lead up to Christmas after all and football is on pause.
Our plan for their fitness is to get them out running once or twice a week so they are ticking over throughout this period. Hopefully, when we do get going again, the lads will have a good level of fitness, although it doesn’t compare to playing matches and every club will be in the same boat.
Levels of match fitness and sharpness are going to drop off meaning the first game back, which we expect to be at home to Saltash, will be interesting.
Before the lockdown, Blazey were involved in one of the final matches to take place in Cornwall before restrictions were tightened as football was once again forced into hibernation. The Green and Blacks clashed with Helston Athletic in the FA Vase and with the match finishing 2-2- after 90 minutes, the Blues eventually prevailed 4-3 on penalties.
Although Hayden once again stated his disappointment at the defeat, he was keen to take heart from continual improvements from his side.
I want to look positively on everything and not get too disheartened about any setbacks, he added. Yes, I was gutted about losing to Helston in the Vase and going out on penalties, despite playing really well. On the flip-side of that result, when we played them a few weeks previously, we got battered really and they were the much better team. Two weeks later in the Vase, we completely turned that on its head and we were probably the better side for the majority of the match. Also with the Vase, we progressed a round further than we did last season.
Going into the lockdown on the back of a loss has been difficult, but it has given us time to look back and reflect on everything that didn’t quite go our way. That has been good for us because we are now going into the next block of league fixtures fresh and raring to go.