North Coast Football squads rack up 1,000km in lockdown training Coffs Coast Sport by News Of The Area - Modern Media - September 1, 2021 Lachie Montgomery training on the beach during lockdown. TWO lockdown extensions have resulted in moving goalposts for North Coast Football’s Head of Coaching and Player Development Alex Nolan as he wrestles with maintaining the fitness and engagement of the players. North Coast Football (NCF) have four teams competing in the National Premier League (NPL) where maintaining fitness and motivation in order to facilitate a smooth return to football is amongst Alex’s key challenges. “The NCF NPL teams will have had six weeks off the pitch before their proposed return to football on 18 September. “Due to this, the focus of training has been to keep the players motivated while engaging in activities that will minimise the risk of injury in the return to football. “In the first two weeks of lockdown, the teams engaged in challenges, such as the Cooper Test which is a 12 minute run, and a team’s challenge where each team had to accumulate a certain amount of kilometres. “The engagement from the players was better than expected, with the four squads accumulating one thousand kilometres over one week with one player contributing 80km himself. “The focus now shifts to a Multi-Sprint Stamina and Speed Repeatability program, this is basically a pre-season program to maximise the player’s output of short, football specific distances over 90 minutes. “We have also had guest speakers such as Dylan Watson and Sam Jarrett from Southern Cross Athletes who delivered a presentation to our under 15s and 16s about opportunities abroad and player pathways beyond Australian NPL. “With two more weeks of lockdown announced, keeping players motivated becomes tricky; however, with a potential return to football, that alone is enough motivation for the players to keep putting in the effort at home,” said Alex. Lachie Montgomery plays in the under 14s and has been relishing the lockdown challenges. “I did 27 km in last week’s challenge. I’ve been doing backyard drills and then hit the beach for small runs and football drills. “If we get to finish the NPL season we might not have much time to prepare so it’s good to keep in shape the best we can. “The challenges keep up the team spirit, it’s not the same as training but it really helps,” said Lachie. By David WIGLEY The potential return to football is enough motivation for North Coast Football players.