After hours of waiting, meal vouchers and entirely too long in Nagoya Airport, I finally made it to the Philippines just in time to make it to the GO Hotel for the opening team meeting of the A5N Training Camp. It was great to walk in and see all the boys. A couple of faces that I didn’t know, a couple who couldn’t make the Hong Kong series but mostly lads I saw only a month ago. The first night was relaxed and kit was handed out for the trip.
The next day we headed up for the Word of Life camp. The bus ride was much smoother in a nicer bus replete with tv and enough seats for everyone. We arrived at camp, got settled in and then it was time for work. The first day of training we started off with a new addition of boxing at training. This was first time working on focus mitts and it was a lot of fun connecting the mind and the body to complete combos and footwork. Catch pass, defense and then unit skills complete the training session.
That evening it was ‘net time with all the laptops, phones and iPads coming out. The boys sat around, talked to family and friends, and played ping pong and basketball. I struggled to stay awake, sleeping on the concrete for a bit. My goal was to make it past 10pm because I knew if I didn’t I would be awake ridiculously early. I barely made it to 10pm then I slept on with a mattress on the floor to take full advantage of the 2 fans in the bunkroom.
Day 2 of camp saw us head to the new training grounds in Laguna. The grounds were really nice and we had a good session. The focus was on starting to develop our game, with structures put in place. After training, it was back to the camp for lunch where we were introduced to cup stacking by assistant coach, Jared Hodges. Now the boys are training to get the quickest 3, 3, 3 time at camp with 1,000 pesos on the line. Cup stacking is difficult and frustrating to say the least. It is hilarious watching the lads get frustrated and restart in the quest for the quickest time.
The afternoon session was completed in the pouring rain. During our camp, there has been a typhoon sitting off the coast. It has kept the weather cool, but it brought with it the rains. It was a weird experience to be training in the warm rain. The session went well with some contact, tackle technique and lineouts for the forwards.
This morning I woke up and with the rain gone the sun has come out. It is going to be a hot training day for our last day at camp. It is going to be quite a different training day. I am glad that the weather was a little cooler, but today is the first day of training in real Pinoy weather, hot, sunny and humid.