Royston: Looking Forward to the Season Ahead
Keighley Cougars conditioner Paul Royston is feeling positive about the season ahead. Royston is happy with how the three Northern Rail Cup games have gone 'I think we have shown increased fitness levels in all the games especially in the final 20 minutes when our oppositions have tired we have kept up the pace and tempo.'
'We have shown that our concentration levels are good thanks to an increase in sharpness and explosiveness which means the players can fully concentrate on the game rather than their levels of fitness.'
Paul who joined the Cougar coaching staff back in November feels that he has achieved what he wanted to at this stage, 'I am very happy with the squad and we have achieved what we set out to achieve in pre-season and the Northern Rail Cup. 95% of the squad are at the levels we wanted them to be at before the Championship kicked off and the remaining 5% is down to injuries not at all down to attitude or lack of trying as every individual has been excellent and given their all.'
Royston will change his conditioning methods as the weather improves, 'As the league kicks off we will look to maintain fitness levels by spending time in the gym however we will also spend more time out on the pitch working on speed agility and quickness.'
The Cougars will have a busy period playing 9 games in 5 weeks with a mixture of Northern Rail Cup, Challenge Cup and Championship games. Royston went on to discuss the upcoming busy period, 'We have to be cautious to not over train the players as we do not want them to suffer from fatigue, we have a big squad which means that Barry (Eaton) has the option to rotate players. Barry knows that the bulk of the squad have high fitness levels however match fitness is a different field which cannot be replicated during training.'
'The players are all well prepared for the upcoming season and hopefully results will go our way and the players confidence will increase which obviously then has a positive effect on the pitch.'
As the club announced last week that they have been handed a penalty of -9 points in the Co-Operative Championship, Paul Royston explained how it is imperative that all the players and staff at the Cougars remain focussed on the league ahead 'This season will be a challenge we all know that however we are all remaining positive and we know that we will give our all. I have seen no loss of application in the players since the penalty was announced and the players have belief in themselves and know that they are up to the challenge. I know it sounds cliché but we have to take each game as it comes and remain both focussed and positive.'