Burnley’s Youth Team have been pushed to their physical limits in their first of two weeks in the Austrian mountains.
However, the squad have been plagued by bad weather in Obertraun that has forced the postponement of three warm-up games, including a prestigious game against Chelsea’s Youth Cup winners.
Academy Manager Jason Blake explained: “We have been very unfortunate with the weather.
“We have had some great sunshine over the last few days after the Chelsea game got called off and since then we’ve seen a barrage of rain for the two other matchdays.
“However, losing the Chelsea game has given us experience in how to rearrange our schedule for the physical development of the players, so we have tried to replicate the physical intensity of what the games would have brought us.
Strength and conditioning coach Adam Yates puts the boys through their paces
“We’ve also have to manage their mentality too because they have lost three games to the weather and it would be very easy for them to be demotivated. Their reaction when we told them another game was called off was disappointment, but equally they knew it wasn’t anybody’s fault for the amount of rain we have had.
However, despite the lack of competitive action, the players continue to gear up for their first Youth Alliance game in nine days’ time.
Blake explained: “The trip is the back end of their pre-season preparations and the games are really important, but equally the work we have done on the pitch isn’t all about physical conditioning and putting the lads through a lot of hard work; it’s also about tactical development too.
Jason Blake addresses the group following a postponement
"We are now starting to put individual sessions in there too, so they are coming out and doing half an hour work in their own time with myself or one of the other coaches, so we are really starting to push them."
Thursday’s training session tested the youngsters to the limit, as they were repetitively asked to climb the notorious hills that are a feature of the spectacular scenery.
Blake explained: “The lads did one of the old school tasks of hill running. They did a football session beforehand and that, in itself, was hard.
"There’s obviously a physical component to the hill runs, but really we were looking at the mental toughness to do them.
"The runs brought teamwork out of the lads, driving each other on and making sure that they completed the circuit."
However, hard work has been tempered by the opportunity to take in the breathtaking beauty beauty of the Salzkammergut region.
Blake said: “First of all it was really important we gave them a down day for two reasons.
“The physical and football work they have been doing has been really hard on them, so it was really important they got a rest from all physical excretion.
“On the flip side it also got them out of the venue for a day. We are here for 13 nights, so it was really important we allowed them freedom to come away from the facility for the day."
The Youth Team hiked up the hillside before anxiously reaching the vertiginous cable cars.
At the summit, the squad then visited ice caves located deep in the mountainside, listening keenly to the tour guide.
If that wasn’t enough for them, the group ascended another level in the cable cars before stepping out to a jaw dropping panorama.
Plans are now afoot for the Youths to play another game against a local Austrian side on Wednesday, as the tour reaches its conclusion.
You can see the team’s day off campus and much more now and in the coming days, via Clarets Player.
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