Scotland U16 Development camp: Valladolid blog

As part of the Scotland U16 player-development camp to Valladolid, funded by Erasmus+ and New College Lanarkshire, the players have been tasked with documenting their experience.

Our first blog comes from second-row Luca Alessandri, who attends Kings Park Secondary School and plays with Cartha Queen’s Park.

Day 1

We arrived in Spain to a whopping 35-degree heat. After passport control and collecting our bags and a funny shaped surf board, we hopped onto the bus for a brisk drive to the sunny city of Valladolid. We arrived early in the evening just before supper, our first taste of Spanish cuisine, and had our first squad meeting which gave us an insight into what to expect during our next fortnight of training. We were all ready for an early night.

Day 2

We rose early for our first day of training and after a well-rounded breakfast, we set off for the notorious VRAC and El Salvador rugby ground, the two greatest teams in Spain. We were weighed in for measuring hydration and weight loss from sweat in the boiling heat. The training was a simple recap of play similar to what we had done in Wales a few months ago. However, the temperature was astonishing and we were just about kept cool by lots of ice towels and bottle upon bottle of water.

We then finished training and went to the outdoor pool for a recovery muscle rehab session. Back at the hotel we enjoyed lunch before a much needed siesta, followed by player specific gym and skills sessions in the university complex.

The gym was a recap of basic movement and skills: the backs focused on accurate passing and hand catch whilst the forwards targeted line-out lifting, jumping and throwing. We then headed back to the hotel for a delicious supper and an analytical session of previous phases of play before bed time.

Day 3

After being well rested and another suitably scrumptious breakfast, we set off again for the the rugby ground – the day ahead was to be much more intense. Forwards and back were split, and again the backs did more handling, speed and kicking, whereas the forwards went straight into scrummaging practice.

Afterwards we came back together and went into a series of fast, quick moving games of touch. Each game varied but they all tried to promote spreading the ball quick and wide to the outside channels. After a lot more water we then went back to the hotel. Another siesta was followed by two more presentations on the importance of flexibility and nutrition. Supper was ‘fandabydosy’ and we then settled down for another night in paradise.