BBC BLOGS - Gavin Strachan

The dread of pre-season training looms large

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Gavin Strachan | 10:37 UK time, Tuesday, 9 June 2009

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Hi, hope you are all well.

It might be June, but having reflected on the season that has just passed, the thoughts of professional footballers are now - grudgingly - switching to getting themselves prepared for pre-season training. For most players, those words "pre-season training" are tantamount to an obscenity.

The window of opportunity for abusing your body (in moderation of course!) in terms of the food you eat and in some cases what you drink is becoming smaller each year. The need to maintain your fitness over the close-season is now a necessity as opposed to an option, which some could argue was the case in years gone by.

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One of the lucky ones

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Gavin Strachan | 15:10 UK time, Thursday, 14 May 2009

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Hi. Hope you are all well.

During the free time available to me since the end of the season, I have been reading up (yes, players do read!) on the various initiatives that the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) are involved in.

One scheme which caught my eye is called the Progression strategy.

Run by the PFA and LFE (League Football Education), it is designed to deal with the "fall out" from professional football among young players - in other words, the 40% of apprentices who do not earn a professional contract.

In order to help these young players, a series of "assessment trials" were organised.

The trials took place on 12, 13 and 14 May at different locations around the country.

The aim is to re-route as many of these players as possible into either professional or semi-professional football in the UK and across Europe. There are also a number of universities from both the UK and the USA looking to recruit these players on sports scholarships.

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No point crying

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Gavin Strachan | 11:10 UK time, Thursday, 7 May 2009

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Hi. Hope you are all well.

I usually have to think long and hard about what subject I should focus on for this blog, but this week it was easy after being called into Notts County manager Ian McParland's office last Thursday and told the club would not be renewing my contract.

At the outset, I have to make it clear that this is not a sob story.

Regardless of what job you do, being told you are going to be out of work it is not a pleasant experience to go through.

However, such experiences come with the territory of being a footballer in the lower leagues and there is no point in crying over them as far as I am concerned.

It does, however, give me the opportunity to explain what goes on when clubs are in the process of deciding what players they wish to keep for the following season and which they don't and how the players deal with the situation.

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