Andy Barrow: Hot and Tired

09 Aug 2010 18:26

I’ve left it a while since my last blog entry. Call it a summer break if you will, but the truth is that not much has been happening on the playing side of things now that the season is over. That’s not to say that I haven’t been working! For the last month, the Worlds squad has been training hard ahead of our main pre-tournament camp in a couple of weeks’ time.

After the “game heavy” period between March and July, it’s time to bank that final fitness before sharpening up and becoming “match fit." The Head Coach and S&C (Strength and Conditioning) guys have really put us through our paces with some punishing sessions. In short, if you asked me to sum up my last four weeks, I could do it in two words: “hot” and “tired”!

All over the world right now, teams are training with one thing in mind. We all want to be fitter, stronger and faster than our opposition. When I take the court in September, I want to know that I’ve done everything I can to be better than my opposite number and I know he’s thinking the same. This is what drives us on as athletes.

We now know our schedule and the teams we’ll face in Vancouver, (you can find it too at http://www.2010wwrc.com/event-info/game-schedule) so the remaining six weeks until the tournament begins will be spent working on and off court to ensure that we give ourselves every chance of beating them. Our opening game against Canada is already a sell-out and the thought of playing the hosts in such a crucial match is making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

The big games are what you live for; they simultaneously exhilarate and scare the hell out of you. They keep you awake at night and make you feel sick, yet you long for the next one to come along. You can’t replicate the feeling you get when you’re getting ready to play and you hear the crowd in the main arena, or when your National Anthem is played and your name is announced over the loudspeaker. Just before tip-off you feel like you’re in a dream, but as soon as that whistle goes, everything crystallises and you have a job to do. Thirty-two minutes between you and a win!

This is what keeps you going when your lungs are burning and your arms are screaming at you. This is what makes you carry on when you want to stop. This is why I don’t care that for the last month I’ve just been “hot” and “tired”!