In an exclusive blog for ecb.co.uk, England captain Will Rhodes reveals what happened at a team bonding weekend in Loughborough ahead of the Under-19 World Cup.
Last weekend enabled the team to get back together for one last time before we head out to the United Arab Emirates. It was the perfect opportunity to discuss game plans, develop our individual games and most importantly get our new kit! For some of the lads, the thought of playing in a World Cup still hasn't quite sunk in.
On Friday the lads took on the staff in 'Marshy's' (Chris Marshall our sport psychologist) team bonding exercise. I don't think I have ever seen some of the boys so confused looking at bits of plastic!
We were given various lengths of plastic with varying amounts of slots in each. Using these, we then had to create the identical shape that was given to us before the task started.
We had 30 minutes to complete this task. It definitely was harder than it sounds. This gave all of us and the majority of the staff time to come together before the tour. However, as the staff won the challenge, they have the early bragging rights which isn't ideal.
Like other teams, this led to us writing up a team charter (overseen by Kate Green) which we will stick by when we are out in the UAE.
A lot of emphasis on this preparation camp has been put on challenging us in the nets in scenario situations. The quality and intensity have been high, which surely has to be a great sign as the start of the World Cup is now just three weeks away.
In the scenarios we were put into pairs with the two losing pairs doing a consequence. This time Ed Barnard, Jack Winslade, Miles Hammond and I took on Simon Guy's 'dice of doom'. It's fair to say that I'll certainly be doing my best to avoid doing a consequence in the future.
The only good thing about it being someone's birthday down at Loughborough is that the coaches do usually provide a delicious piece of chocolate cake. This for Rob Ahmun (our strength and conditioning coach) is his worst nightmare. Seeing his 'athletes' take down some cake doesn't make him happy. However, I thought it was unbelievable. Happy 19th Rob Sayer!
We leave Loughborough in high spirits knowing that a week from now we will be training back out in the sun. The thought of training and playing in the heat whilst your friends and family are probably freezing in the snow and rain shouldn't, but does, give you a little bit of pleasure!