Dean Keates tells Walsall players to clear minds
Walsall boss Dean Keates has told his players to clear their minds in the summer break following a campaign that has been both physically and mentally exhausting.
The Saddlers had to wait until the final week of the season to secure their League One status and ultimately finished 18th in the division, just three points above the relegation zone.
Keates believes that survival battle was mentally tiring for everyone connected with the club.
And he has now told his players to enjoy two weeks off before they then get to work on individual fitness programs they have been given for the summer.
“For us – what we have been through over the past few weeks – mentally it’s been draining,” the boss said. “Physically it has been tiring, but it has been mentally as well.
“We have told the players to have two weeks off. I want them to shut down, enjoy themselves and have a complete rest.
“Then it’s a case of dripping feeding them back in.
“They have all been given individual programs. It goes from one individual session to two sessions a week.
“Then by the time they come back, it’ll be three individual sessions they are doing away from the place before they come in for pre-season.”
Keates says he will know straight away if players haven’t done their individual work over the summer.
“If they don’t, when they come in we’ll know straight away,” the boss added.
“Their weight will be up or their body mass will be up or they will be miles behind in the running.
“If you do that, you’re not helping yourself. Pre-season isn’t like it was when I played. Back then it got you fit. Now, you keep yourself ticking over.
“Pre-season is about topping yourself back up.”