Hard work continues for Academy in Slovakia


The hard work continued off the pitch for West Ham United's Academy during their pre-season training camp in Slovakia on Wednesday as the youngsters took to the gym and swimming pool.

Having secured a 2-1 victory against MFK Zemplin Michalovce the previous evening, the Hammers spent the morning off the grass as they instead worked on their physical development.

After working up a sweat in the gym a short distance from their base for the week in the city of Kosice, the pool was the next destination as they continued their recovery from the first win of pre-season.

And having spent half the day without a ball at their feet by this point, Terry Westley's men were then taken back to the Lokomotiva Stadium for an afternoon session on the pitch as they build their fitness during the crucial pre-season period.

The Academy's Head of Medicine and Sports Science Tom Smith was pleased with the boys' work away from the grass, though, and highlighted the importance of heading to a different environment during the summer months.

As well as their football sessions, it is important the players have opportunities to focus on their physical development in the gym, while the pool offers a completely different training environment

Tom Smith, Head of Academy Medicine and Sports Science

Ajibola Alese works in the gym

"There are many benefits of a training camp during pre-season – it is a continuation of the hard work started back at home, an opportunity to build squad morale, and just as important as the physical training is the chance to continue the players' learning off the pitch around our playing philosophy and their own individual needs," he said.

"As well as their football sessions, it is important the players have the appropriate opportunities to focus on their physical development needs in the gym. Today, players were split in to smaller groups, based on their own specific needs at this stage of the training camp.

"Some who had played in yesterday's fixture may have had an upper body stimulus, whereas those who were in a lesser state of fatigue could get some strength and power training into their legs. Others who are returning from injury and following individual plans will have taken part in a cardiovascular circuit.

"The pool offers a completely different training environment. The water can have a therapeutic effect on tired muscles, help take the strain off of the joints, but it also offers resistance to those who need to work harder on rehab or fitness.

"The bulk of the squad took part in a recovery session, while individuals swam for extra fitness. Then all players took part in relay races at the end to ensure there was a competitive, but fun edge to the session."