Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

DAN'S VITAL ROLE IN PRIDE SUCCESS; Behind the Scenes Is whereNPL Champions Make Gains

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

DAN'S VITAL ROLE IN PRIDE SUCCESS; Behind the Scenes Is whereNPL Champions Make Gains

Article excerpt

DAVID

LEMS

david.lems@qt.com.au

BEHIND every successful sporting team is a strategist or steadying influence to keep everything on track.

But that vital person is not always the coach.

For defending National Premier Leagues champions Western Pride, Dan Burnell is happy to be regarded as someone "behind the scenes'' helping the progressive side.

Yet the motivational, organisational and co-ordinating roles Burnell performs are extremely valuable.

Burnell draws on years of involvement in football to help promote the professional values at Ipswich's NPL club.

Heading into the Easter break, the Western Pride men had maintained second spot in this year's NPL state competition having lost just one of their seven games.

Watching how Burnell actively oversees the team's 30 minute warm-up sessions highlights why the Graham Harvey-coached combination is again setting high standards.

"At this level, players have come through various systems and it's really important to have habits, routines and structures,'' Burnell said.

"We went on this really amazing run last year (winning the grand final) and we developed and adapted this particular routine that works and the players enjoyed it.

"So this year we've taken that and tweaked it and improved it in certain areas.

"We keep the things that we know we like and that works . . . and there's elements of the warm-up that are relaxing and enjoyable and there are certain areas where we really turn the screw.

"We talk about buzz words such as energy, intensity and responsibility and words that mean something to the group.''

Burnell conducts the session in the 40 minutes or so before kick-off.

The players work as one, going through the stretches, warm-up drills and ball skills before taking to the field.

Burnell said variety was also important to avoid any element of complacency.

"So this year we felt we'd keep a lot of the structures we like but change and tweak things here and there,'' he said. …

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