Lincoln City FC Visit
With no games being played for 2 weeks Lincoln City FC Manager David Holdsworth approached me on the Monday to ask if it was possible to get the players up to RAF Waddington and put them through some rigorous tests to help assess their fitness levels.
Even though this was at short notice I asked the station gymnasium if it was at all possible. Flight Sergeant Jim Dick took a long hard look at his manning and told me he would be able to support our request on the Thursday afternoon. With the Physical Training Instructors (PTIs) on board and with assistance from Squadron Leader Dave Tague it was a done deal to get the team on base.
Lincoln Players turned up in convoy at 1300 hrs not knowing what to expect until they met Corporal Jinks, a 6ft 3in 15st Rugby League player with a dislike for footballers! Corporal Dale Jinks (Jinksy) was assisted by the more ‘happy go lucky’ Sergeant Mark Rooney (Rooners) and they were given only one request from the manager. “Can the PTI’s put the lads through the RAF fitness test and work them to the max.”
The lads realised what they had to do and showed a great spirit and just got on with it. The immense effort was displayed by Simon Russell reaching level 15-9 on the bleep test, Ali Fuseini pushing out 85 press ups and Nick Nicolau banging out 76 sit ups in 1 minute. But little did the lads know that this was not all the Gym staff had planned, as this was a warm up for what was to follow.
Once outside, the team were split into two smaller working groups and were introduced to a Battle PT session. This is an extremely hard working circuit designed at getting service personnel fitter prior to deploying on Operations by working through exercises that are similar to movements they may encounter for real out in theatre.
Half of the team were put through the stretcher carry race with Rooners, as they ran around a course taking turns to act as “casualty” as their team mates carried them around, changing each time with a whistle blast. The other half was put through their paces with a jerry can and 70kg dummy drag over a 25m course in a set time. Both teams were exhausted at the end of their events, and after a quick water break they swapped around to complete both challenges.
The final event was the iron soldier challenge, made famous by Soccer AM. This involved the players running out to collect various weighted power bags one at a time and bringing them back to the start point. The last race was a head to head between the coaches; Neil Gardner and Matt Carmichael who, it has to be said were strongly press ganged into taking part. Both coaches were practically dragged over the finish line by the players, resulting in a massive pile of coaching staff and players!
By the end the lads were completely exhausted after working hard throughout with great encouragement from the PTI’s. Though it was not their idea of fun there were plenty of laughs had by all. From my point of view it was good to see the lads show togetherness with a great team spirit which for me is what the forces are all about.On behalf of Lincoln City FC I would like to thank the RAF Waddington gymnasium staff, in particular Sgt Mark Rooney and Cpl Dale Jinks for their excellent support and we hope this is the start of a strong friendship between RAF Waddington and Lincoln City FC.
By Corporal Neil Gardner
Following on from the manager’s request to put his team through their paces, we put the players through the RAF fitness test that all personnel must successfully achieve every 6 months. This measures their aerobic capacity as well as upper body and abdominal strength. Some of the players achieved excellent results, which is to be expected of a professional footballer.
On the battle PT session, the players worked extremely hard as they performed exercises such as team stretcher carry and 70kg casualty drag which are roles that service personnel are training for prior to going on Operational duty. I was very impressed with their team work skills, and the attitude displayed by the lads throughout a very arduous training session.“
Physical Education Flight