Scott Byrnes chat, part three

Scott Byrnes chat, part three

The third and final part of our chat with Ana’s strength and conditioning coach Scott Byrnes

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" >part one
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" >part two

Gavin Versi: Could you tell us about a typical day during a conditioning block?
Scott Byrnes: Sure. The maximum Ana will do in a day is three sessions. Sometimes it will just be two. We always do a session before breakfast, which is what we call the “BB”. It’s a cardiovascular session, so it increases her heart rate. It lasts an hour maximum but is usually around the 30 to 40 minute mark.

I try and vary it as much as possible for Ana’s sake, to keep it interesting and to ensure we’re using different muscles. Sometimes we use equipment, like a treadmill, exercise bike or a stepper. Other times it might be some outdoor running and sometimes we go on bike rides, exploring the nearby surroundings. We can also look at agility in this session, so it’s quite flexible. It’s an aerobic session, around about a 70 per cent maximum heart rate session, so there isn’t much sprinting involved.

Then there’s often a gym session before lunch where we work on strength, and an afternoon session which is cardio based and much more intense than the morning one. But like I said, it changes all the time.

As well as the training itself, Ana probably spends up to half an hour a day stretching during one of these conditioning blocks, and she’ll have a long massage in the evening.

GV: Do you incorporate other activities into the training regime – swimming, for example?
SB: We haven’t done much swimming yet but when we do our big block of fitness at the end of the season we will be getting more into it. So far swimming has only been used as part of the recovery process. I want to work on strengthening Ana’s rotator cuff muscles and swimming is important for that. Fitness work in the pool can also be good when you want to take the load off the legs.

We’ve also done some boxing. It’s a great way of tapping into your anaerobic threshold. In our very first block of sessions back in July we did some kick-boxing. Ana really enjoyed it and she’s got a good punch on her! I’d hold the pads – I’ve got to be on my guard because I think she wouldn’t mind socking me one on the nose for all the torture I put her through! Seriously, she enjoys it, she has a big smile on her face when we’re doing all these varied activities. I’m a big believer that a player has to enjoy the training in order to reach their peak, so using these other activities is a good way of keeping it fun.

GV: In the past Ana told us how you once promised to buy her ice cream if she beat you in a shuttle run. Do you play lots of these games?
SB: Absolutely, it’s about keeping it fun. Ana’s an incredibly competitive person and she loves those kind of incentives. It’s hard work yes, but it’s a lot of fun too.

GV: What is your impression of Ana’s personality, having worked closely with her for a few months now?
SB: The first thing that you notice about Ana is that she’s got a big heart. She’s a lovely person and you’re drawn to her from afar. The second thing you notice is her competitiveness, which for me is key – if you haven’t got that as a professional athlete then you’re not going to reach the top. Her competitive edge shines through in everything we do. She has a great sense of humour and is just a pleasure to be around.

GV: Thanks a lot for talking to us.
SB: Anytime. Speak to you son.

Photo: Stephanie Morel