Perfecting the 'flick and whack'
Greetings earthlings! I have just been for a jog, which reminded me that my level of fitness is quite horrendous at the moment and that after three months suffering from a sore ligament it might be a little while before I return to the peak of my powers.
When my sister-in-law Anna opened the front door on my arrival back at Chateaux Walker she was almost embarrassed to mention the comical redness of my face.
I had another gentle reminder of my poor lung capacity last week when we played the first game of office five-a-side this season. I ran around like a baboon for about one minute and 20 seconds then spent the rest of the hour restricted to an occasional sprint which was followed by me having to stand quietly in the corner waiting for my heart-rate to drop below 300 beats-per-minute.
Thankfully my task on Football Focus last week required no running whatsoever - just a gentle swinging of the leg.
I was sent to Wolverhampton, along with producer Andy Fraser, to re-enact the great free kick scored by David Jones on the opening day of the Premier League season against Stoke. You can see the piece here...
He doesn't claim it was an original - Matthew Le Tissier is one of many who've perfected the 'flick and whack' in the past - but Mr Jones's effort was particularly smooth. Karl Henry also turned up because he is the man responsible for the all important 50cm roll-back for Jones to flick.
There are some footballers who would rival Mariah Carey in the diva stakes but these two could not have been nicer during the half-hour Andy and I spent with them and Wolves could not have been more accommodating - there was even a cup of tea and a plate full of biscuits available at the end of it!
Part of the reason we stayed out there so long was because Jones wanted to score the perfect free-kick and Henry wanted to hammer the crossbar. David had about 15 goes - five went in, three hit the woodwork and only one went over the fence at the back. Karl, meanwhile, confirmed what I have always thought - sometimes even professionals are just like kids and prefer whacking the crossbar to scoring a goal.
Eventually the time came for me to have a go. "Make sure that pass back is perfect," I said before asking Jones for some last-minute advice.
"Don't try and hit it too hard," he said. "Smooth and gentle is the key, just feel like you are stroking it into the net."
I tried a few looseners before feeling like I had the range and, with David's advice running through my brain, I assumed the position, eyed the target and waited for the ball to arrive. The delivery was perfect, the flick likewise, but unfortunately I tried to hit it hard enough to reach Russia and the ball sailed off left of the goal, prompting sniggers from both players.
From that point on things got decidedly better. I had 11 attempts (I can only remember eight and must have blanked the other three out!), 10 of which were recorded on camera and I hit the crossbar once, with two finishing in the back of the onion bag.
You can see all 10 of them here...
After filming from every possible angle we thanked the boys and let them head back for Mick McCarthy's end of training chat.
On the drive home I felt a little miffed by the memory of that first, terrible pulled effort and it got me thinking about my worst sporting moments - moments when you want to deliver the goods but end up failing miserably.
Regular readers might remember that last season I asked you for 'Your Greatest Sporting Moments' in one of these blogs. This week let me encourage you to share your most embarrassing, the moments you always leave out when boasting to friends about your sporting prowess.
My worst moment came on the tennis court at the age of 12. I was playing in the semi-final of the Sussex County Cup in Brighton, after one of the greatest games of my life in the quarters when I beat the top seed, who was so posh he had a tennis court in his back garden.
Sadly, in the last four my game deserted me entirely and I was demolished in less than half an hour, a 6-0 6-0 humiliation. To make matters worse I saw his mum laughing when I double faulted to gift him the first set and when we went to tell the tournament organiser the result, he thought I must have pulled out injured because it was over so quickly.
So that's me, feel free to get yours off your chest... however painful.
Don't forget we have an early start this week because of the Formula One. We kick off at 11.30 and are only on for half an hour, but there's still plenty packed into the show. Former England manager and current Bradford boss Peter Taylor will be alongside Mark Lawrenson, so if you have any questions for the guys get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter at twitter.com/danwalkerbbc.