Although the League season has come to a close, work does not stop for Head of Sports Science, Fitness and Conditioning Damien Doyle.
Damien, who can be seen putting the players through a warm-up on the pitch ahead of every game, is in charge of looking after the players’ fitness and making sure that they’re in tip-top playing condition throughout the season.
With the Dons’ campaign now complete, Damien’s job is to make sure the players keep in shape throughout the summer in order for them to be in the best possible condition come the start of the gruelling pre-season.
And in an exclusive interview with MK Dons Player, Damien explained what is required of the players throughout their two-month break.
He said: “For the first two weeks the players just need to let their bodies recover as anybody would after any training session, week, month or season. You need to take a recovery period and allow the body to just relax, recuperate and regenerate especially with all the little niggles that the players are carrying. There’s not a player in this squad who probably isn’t carrying a niggle.
“Once they’ve done that, those who have been playing throughout the season will start a light training routine and then we’ll start to build them back up towards pre-season. There will be a lot of high intensity work and a lot of power work before we get into the specifics come the middle of June.
“If players have been compromised physically during the season then it will affect what they do during the off season as some may need more recovery time but generally they’ll stick to a version of what they’re supposed to be doing, although there might be mean they come back having done a little bit more or a little bit less but they normally find themselves.”
The Dons are well-known for their high fitness levels and that appeared to, once again, be the case this year as Karl Robinson’s men finished the season in style, winning half of their games in the final two months of the year.
And Damien, although disappointed with the injuries suffered this year, believes the season has gone as well as it possibly could have in the Sports Science department.
“This year has gone well. There has been a lot said about the injuries rates this year but the injuries that we have suffered have been caused by things we could do nothing about. Overall, we can always improve and we know that but we’ve been very happy with what we’ve done.
“We’ve kept the availability of the players as high as it can be and the standard of fitness amongst the lads has been excellent. We’ve introduced a lot of new ideas and methods to the lads, which have all been taken on board and it’s definitely taken us forward as a squad.
“It’s not just down to the fitness, it’s down to the lads application and drive to achieve what they want to achieve. We do, though, feel that throughout the season when we’ve been faced with a physical battle, we’ve always fancied ourselves.”