Pulling The Flag

The Art of an Ancient Warrior

Here in Leeds, as many of our adversaries will have no doubt noticed, we have had all of the above for the past three seasons. Thankfully, the arrow is trending up!

As we enter our fourth year, we are looking to rebound for our first winning season (sans forfeits).

We’ve retained, for the first time, all of our starters from a season ago. Not only that but we’ve added some talented young athletes to our roster that have been turning heads in preseason. Gone are the days when we’d just take four months off! I’ll run down some of our offseason activities and you can get a little insight into our young operation in action.

Pic Courtesy of Lees Samurai

 

Our training venue is a local swamp park. This has caused a few injuries over the years, but interestingly Leeds is devoid of cheap venues we could use – I’m sure we’re not alone in that. Training focuses more on playbook and fundamentals during the offseason, ensuring the rookies are on the same page and that our basic skills don’t decline. We ran a fitness and skills focused ‘combine’ to measure our progress throughout preseason, and we also added a bigger emphasis on mobility/flexibility (even with a YouTube video to accompany it!) Keeping the lads fit and healthy (and available to play!) is something we’re really trying to improve upon.

We also ventured north of the border to Glasgow’s incredible Toryglen facility (and it didn’t snow us in this year!

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Results didn’t go our way but our rookies showed their mettle and we came together better as a team, looking as cohesive as we normally attain only mid-season. Perhaps there’s something to this retaining players lark?! Ultimately it gave us a chance to try some new ideas and plays and see what some of the best teams in the nation had to offer (with absolutely no disrespect meant to our usual MEC adversaries).

Pic Courtesy of James Brewerton

More recently, we went to the wrong side of the Pennines to face the Crows and came away with a very close loss, then faced the Vipers (who always have our number!) and came away with a 19-18 win. Playing friendlies against other teams is an area that I feel teams can utilise to grow their abilities and the sport as a whole, other than the usual game days. Thanks to both teams for hosting us.

I think I speak for all of us when I say how keen we are for the upcoming season – we even have new team merch to prove it! Every year we read how underdogs upset the big boys and we get upset that nobody ever touts us to do the same. Instead of a pre-game whine, we’re looking to do our talking where it counts this year and maybe even get some votes in the weekly predictions!

So that’s us. Leeds Samurai, in our 4th year, setting our sights firmly on the playoffs. How does your team prepare for the season? What do your personal offseason activities look like? We’d love to hear about it.

Writer: Scott Anthony Martin Leeds Samurai #51

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