WITH the under 18s away in Holland, goalkeeper Callum Hawkins has been writing a blog about the tour. Read below to get up-to-date with the trip!
Early start Monday morning to get our transfer for our morning flight from Birmingham to Amsterdam, 5:30 meet to be exact. So we arrived at the airport for 6:45 and met the local lads who lived near Birmingham. We got through the airport and boarded our hour flight to Amsterdam.
We arrived in Amsterdam and got on the bus transfer to our Mill hotel, which was a journey of an hour and a half; in which time we played a few card games and listened to some music. We arrived at the hotel in Mill and had a few hours to get accustomed to our environment and getting to grips with the facilities that the hotel had; the hotel was jam packed with things to keep us occupied in our free time as it had many sporting activities as well as a pool and sauna.
At 5:30 we had our first training session in the stay, this was a light session after the long day so that we could loosen up after the travelling. For me personally it was a lot of handling and footwork drills being a goalkeeper, whereas it was a light passing drill and possession drill for the outfield players. The session was concluded by a small sided game which lasted around 15 minutes. Following the session all the players were tired so we had our dinner, spent a bit of time as a group, then went to sleep to prepare for the next day.
The second day pretty much began at 8:30 when we had our first breakfast at the hotel. This set us up nicely for our training session that began at 10. This was a more intense session, our first whilst in Holland. This ended with aerobic running so that we can gain fitness attributes from the trip as well as the technical things we are learning. We had lunch at the hotel following our session, this was around 12:30. Our first language session started at 1:30therefore we had an hour to relax around the hotel, we did various activities such as mini golf and football on an inflatable pitch.
Our first language was with a man who was born in New Zealand but lives in Amsterdam with his Dutch wife, Josh being his name. He taught us the basics of Dutch so that we could communicate with the locals in simple conversations. That afternoon we had a gym session like we do back at Burton so that we could maintain ourselves physically, this was a two hour session. At 6:30 we had our dinner at the hotel and enjoyed socialising with the rest of our teammates. Following this at 7:30we had our first Goformative session that is completed for the LFE.
Third day dawned and we all was down for our 8:30 breakfast once again, once we finished that we picked up our laundry that the nice staff at the hotel had washed for us and prepared ourselves for training. We got to training on the pitches around 11 and started a more intense training session. This involved a lot more running and a lot more repetitive drills for us as goalkeepers, this was quite a hard session. Following this we got back to the hotel and prepared ourselves for the memorable trip to the World War II museum.
We arrived at the museum for around 3pm and was builder around by a War veteran who was a major part in the Dutch army as well as a NATO officer for 40 years. It was a memorable experience where we all learnt something new about the war that we didn't know previously. We returned back to the hotel and completed one of our goformative reviews.
Thursday was a day that was an excellent experience for us as we was being coached by the head academy coach of FC Volendam, Stanley. He took our morning session and took the outfield players through some traditional Dutch passing drills followed by a small sided game which was based on what the Dutch clubs do in their training sessions. We had lunch then we had a presentation took by Stanley which was about the football system that is in place in the Netherlands as well as the structure of FC Volendam, which we found out was very different to our system in England.
In the afternoon we had our second session with the Dutch coaches but this time the session was about shooting so we went through some Dutch shooting sessions which were similar to English ones but were adapted differently so that the shooting was varied. We had a relaxed evening and a social night as a team.
Friday was a match preparation session in the morning so that we could be prepared for our game against Den Haag on the Saturday, this session was a small sided game which was inside the 18 yard box so was very short and sharp with a lot of shots and blocks. It was an enjoyable session which we ended with little technical games that were competitive but also a bit of fun. We were interviewed by our coach Sam who asked us all a question each, some of which were very amusing so we all had a bit of fun with that.
After lunch we had our second and final language session with Josh, this was a more football related session as we learned more about how football is and some phrases that are used in the game. In the interactive part of the session we all had a good laugh with the Goalkeepers coming out on top and winning in the activity. We had a few hours to relax following the session so as a team we went out for a walk into the town of Mill where we all went to the shop and had fun socialising with each other. In the evening after our Dinner we had our third Goformative review session which was this time about our two language sessions.
Saturday was our first match day, ADO Den Haag away at their training ground. This was a journey that took an hour and a half. So we packed our bags as we was leaving our hotel in Mill as we were going to the second hotel in Heemskerk following the match. It was a hard game that we came at the wrong end of the scoreline losing to their u19's squad.
Following the game we had our game we had an hour coach journey up to the hotel in Heemskerk which was a luxury hotel that we all didn't expect. Our evening meal surprised us all after the short bike ride towards the castle style building. It was amazing and the food was delicious. We then cycled back to the hotel and had a relaxed evening in our new surroundings.