Rejuvenated Dolphins are putting in the work to be the best they can

2014-07-18 00:00

CONFIDENCE is huge in sport. When it’s a team sport, it does wonders for the players. The trick is to get the players to buy into that confidence and carry it forward.

Last season, the Dolphins won the Ram Slam domestic T20 competition, beating the Cobras in Cape Town. It was their first trophy for many a long year. Supporters had given up on the team winning anything of substance.

Cricket in the province was overshadowed by rugby and was virtually a non- entity. No one was interested in the Dolphins and their endeavours. It was a standard joke that other franchises had trophy cabinets while the Dolphins never knew what that was.

Nevertheless, the duck had been broken. The last trophy at Kingsmead was won when current coach Lance Klusener was still captain. Those who continued to support the Dolphins could at last breath deep and easy. At last, we could compete.

A long dormant spirit had been awakened. A spirit of purpose and belief, one that had the players savouring the sweet juices of victory. They had conquered their personal Everest and man, the view from the top was better than great.

Getting Morné van Wyk from the Knights as skipper was a trump card. He arrived with a determined and steely resolve to rattle the foundations and get the franchise respected among the opposition.

Reward for winning the Ram Slam is playing in the Champions Trophy in India come September. There is work to be done in the build-up to making the trip worthwhile and the Dolphins are making sure they sweat. The players’ souls have been rejuvenated. They believe, they know they can achieve. There is no reason to back down. It’s time to stand tall, proud and invincible.

With this in mind, it’s encouraging to see the players, captain and coach buy into the scheme of wanting to be the best.

For the past seven to eight weeks, they have been at the High Performance Centre at Moses Mabhida Stadium. And they have been working out. They are in two groups, doing about five hours a week. It involves three gym sessions and two runs.

Their goal — to be the best franchise in the country and that means being at the top in mind and body. The Dolphins want to put the best players on the park for every match. Knowing they can win, they want to do things right.

With specialist personnel in attendance, they are assured of the right programmes and workout. This will show at the tail end of the season when fatigue leads to injury. Injury recovery time is paramount and it cements the theory of a healthy mind leading to a healthy body.

Three key phases have been identified. The base phase sees players undertaking a general programme as they get into the training mode. Then the power mode comes, in layman’s terms, making the body tough enough to deal with the rigours of the game. Last is the function mode, working on position and movement.

Watching the players, it’s encouraging to see them doing what’s necessary — exercise bikes, sit-ups, pull-ups, push-ups and balancing. It’s even better seeing Van Wyk lead the way and Klusener casting an eye over it all.

Now it’s up to the players. There’s a spring in the step, pride for the badge. They mean business. They want to be the best. It’s up to us to support them, encourage them and get bums on seats when they play in Durban. It could be a season to remember.

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