19 October 2018
Tennis and Women's Hockey: A Tale of Two Seasons
Georgia Burns and Benjamin Zuckerman
The clubs share their experiences of the gruelling preseason training as King's high performing sports teams.
To compete in BUCS at optimal level, members of the King's Sport Performance Teams have had to endure a trying last 6 weeks. They've had to work through the season before the season. The Preseason.
Far gone were the halcyon days of summer. The eternal sunshine and serenity replaced with sweat drenched breathlessness. Pushed to their limits, they are now ready to take on all challengers.
With BUCS fixtures back in full swing, we asked those who had been through the trials to share their experiences.
KCL Women's Hockey's Preseason Experience
The Performance Team preseason programme was challenging but also hugely rewarding for our squad.
With everyone spread across the globe over the summer offseason, doing internships, travelling and working we returned to London in mid-August slightly fearful for what fitness Chris had in store for us. Upon arrival to the first session, we were greeted by six shiny rowing machines, Chris grinning and holding his laptop, and a nasty fitness test to complete.
The initial rowing interval session was by no means easy, but a necessary starting point for recording our team’s fitness progression over the next three weeks- and what a long three weeks it was! Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday a new fitness test on our beloved rowing machines, which we grew a fond attachment to, was to be completed. With each test came new struggles; blisters on our hands, sweat stinging our eyes and feeling the need to almost be sick time and time again. However, with these slightly over-dramatic struggles came success.
Doing the sessions side by side really allowed our squad to push each other while supporting one another across the finish line each time. Completing the various rowing interval tests over the preseason period provided us with a great sense of pride, not least in how dramatically our fitness levels improved over such a short time, but also in our success of not throwing up even once during the tests! This sense of achievement from the gym got our confidence up on the pitch for our various friendlies and training sessions.
As preseason training ends, and our first BUCS game looms, we are feeling readier than ever. The team is focused and looking to improve on our mid table finish from last season.
The support we have off the pitch will be key to achieving our goals. Having a strength and conditioning session twice weekly is a great way to help us achieve success this season and we are very much looking forward to the year ahead.
Georgia Burns, KCLWHC 1st Team Captain
KCL Tennis' Preseason Experience
4th September - First preseason fitness session. Some of KCL Tennis’ finest athletes walked down the eerie, poorly lit stairs of level -4 at the Macadam building. None of us realised that this would resemble the dark place you had to learn to love when you’re three minutes deep into your third set of four minutes on four minutes off, the second most brutal exercise we were put through.
We were greeted outside the gym by the towering giant, Chris McCann, licking his lips as he realised he had fresh meat to entertain his Tuesday and Thursdays from six till seven. Little did he know that he was about to encounter the true workmen of sport at King’s.
As this was KCL Tennis’ first ever preseason, Hassan ‘Hassassin’ Morad, Ben ‘the prophet’ Zuckerman and Ben ‘Gonzalez’ Faulkner (poor Faulkner, his grunts sound like he may pass out on the next stroke he takes), the preseason OGs, did not know what to expect.
Chris bellowed, “Alright boys, today is your conditioning test, 4 minutes on 4 minutes off, set your rowers to 10 and off you go!” Shudders were sent down our spines. We all strapped up, prepared our final words for each other and on the count of three rowed like we have never rowed before.
On reflection, I think it was roughly 1 minute 24 seconds into my first set that I started to hallucinate. Flashbacks from the two most incredible years (2016-2018) KCL Tennis have ever had were relayed over and over and over (and over) again in my mind.
The thoughts that got me through those gruelling thirty-two minutes:
Firstly, our emphatic 5-1 demolition of UCL at varsity, every KCL Tennis members personal favourite; followed up the next year (2018) by a narrow 4-3 win over a much stronger UCL team. A win is a win, and oh did we celebrate it.
Secondly, in the 2016/17 season, our first team for both men’s and women’s were unbeaten in both their respected leagues, all our teams gained a promotion and the men’s first team won the South Eastern Conference Cup!
In the blink of an eye it was over, high fives being passed around. The three KCL tennis preseason musketeers’ lungs were still working tirelessly, trying hard to refill their oxygen depleted bodies and fight off the feeling of nausea. Little did we know this was only the start.
Fast forward to September the 13th, Chris had gained a new lamb for the slaughter. Nick ‘NICOOOOOOO’ Katzaros, the 1st team captain for the upcoming season had now returned from his adventures across the pond, ready to do battle with the conditioning test. Whilst Hassassin and Ben were ready to be dogged by Chris’s hell child. Two minutes on one minute off twelve times. If there was anything that resembled the spawn of beezleboss, this was it.
All three of us rowed on. NICOOOOOOO was cramping in every part of his body, having just arrived from America after a ten-hour flight with a few nightcaps to help him sleep. Yet again, KCL Tennis did it, our boys did the society proud living to fight another day.
Now we have our full squad at these sessions, newbies are Alex ‘The maxim’ Maxim and Rae ‘RAE LAN RAE LAN RAE LAN RAE LAN’ Lan, we feel invincible. Chris does not know what to do, we have completed his trials and tribulations and some of the boys have even restarted the preseason regime. The only thing for us now is to get on court and keep working hard.