The Plymouth Argyle first team and under-18 squads spent a morning at

Bigbury-on-Sea, under the watchful eye of the Royal Navy’s physical training


This was no typical day at the beach. There was not a football – or beach ball – in

sight as the lads were put through their paces in a series of physical and mental drills,

aimed at developing relationships and emotional intelligence.

For one morning, tactical sessions or working on finishing was replaced by carrying

stretchers, rolling in sand and carrying their team-mates – literally.

They were put through a number of drills usually meant for new recruits to the Navy

that was aimed at testing their physcioal and mental strength.

Warrant Officer 2, Pat Patterson was leading the day and said, “Today were are giving

them some military challenges to improve their physical and mental resilience to aid

with their pre-season development.

“The characteristics we were looking for was the work rate and team ethic, we also

touched a little bit on their emotional intelligence too and how their behaviours can

have a positive or negative reaction during stress.

“The team bonding piece was obvious to see, there were a lot of smiles out there and I

think we can see that in tough situations they will be able to trust each other.”

Argyle manager Steven Schumacher added, “It was a slightly different bit of scenery

for us, down at the beautiful Bigbury beach.

“It was something we had planned together with the Royal Navy to put the lads

through their paces, and they certainly did that.

“We saw them in a different scenario and saw them taking on instructions from

different people.

“Some of the teamwork they had to do was really good and the mentality to keep going

was quite impressive really.”

Striker Ryan Hardie says that it was very tough, but ultimately rewarding.

“It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life,” he said. “I thought we going there

to see the way they work, but unfortunately we had to join in!

“We were lying in the water doing core, we did lifeguard stuff with bodies, and had to

carry people dead weight in the water. It certainly wasn’t an easy experience.

“It was one that we enjoyed, though. In the end, after complaining, the boys got

through it and we did enjoy it. It was about bringing the team together.

“To be fair, it does show the qualities we have. Everybody got through it- without too much moaning.”