Day 3 – Albillage Tour plus Albirex Niigata Football Club Top Team Training, Running Class, First Training Experience
Not all football training sessions require players to kick a football. That was what Danial and Yuhen found out when they visited the Niigata Seiro Sports Center. Also known as Albillage, this is where the players from J.League side Albirex Niigata Football Club trained. After their gym session, the outfield players appeared on the field and did some limbering plus jogging. This enabled the two boys to understand the importance of footballers maintaining their fitness and body condition. Yuhen was surprised by what he saw and said, “even though it was just stretching and running, the players were serious in training and do what they are supposed to well.” Both boys also managed to catch the goalkeepers training. Danial was impressed and said, “the goalkeeping drills were very fast and intense. The goalkeeper coach really made his chargers react fast and show sharp reflexes.”
When shown around Albillage, Yuhen was shocked at the number of pitches available. He exclaimed, “I have never seen any place that can hold six football pitches before.” Danial too was surprised that a football training centre included so many other facilities other than training pitches. He remarked, “the many buildings in the training ground is really interesting. I have never seen and been to somewhere like this before.” Those many buildings which Danial were referring to include a players’ dormitory, clubhouse, café and an indoor futsal pitch.
After lunch, both boys were given the opportunity to put their running skills to test at the Niigata City Athletic Stadium as they attended a class conducted by Mr Ueno, who is from the Niigata Albirex Running Club. Both boys were introduced to the correct posture one should have when running. They were then made to go through a variety of running exercises using hurdles and markers. Mistakes to their running technique were corrected immediately. At the end of the class, both boys looked physically worn out. Danial said, “this was an eye-opening experience for me. As it was my first time trying to run with a correct posture, I am sure I will get better and adapt to it soon.” Yuhen added, “the running session was hard and some of the exercises were challenging for me. I will definitely need to practice more if I want to be running correctly.”
The highlight of the day came in the evening when Danial and Yuhen finally got to kick a ball as they took part in a training session with the Albirex Soccer School Under-12 Special Class at the Japan Soccer College. The main focus of the training was passing, as well as ball control and the two boys were put through numerous football drills by the coach. At the end of the training, both boys had a chance to reflect and give their opinions about how they felt. Danial said, “The training session with this group of Japanese players was the most intense I have ever been through. I definitely have to work on increasing my stamina. I will also need to improve on my vision and see how I can better pass the ball to my teammates.” Yuhen mentioned, “training with the Japanese players was difficult as their playing style meant that I did not really fit into the team. I definitely have to improve by getting myself fitter and move better on the pitch. I will also work harder to better my passing techniques.”