This week Arsenal and England defender Alex Scott talks about last Sunday’s victory over Liverpool, undergoing gruelling fitness tests with the England national team, and the exercise that every footballer dreads...
I endured every footballer’s nightmare this week. Every two months, I and the other England girls have to go for a day of fitness assessments at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham on Wednesday.
It’s a long, hard day and the brutal workout reaches its peak with an exercise known as the yo-yo test. It’s so painful! Every footballer I know hates it.
Basically you set two cones 20 metres apart, and you have to run to and from the cones within the sound of a single beep that is played over a loudspeaker. Every time the gap between each beep decreases, so you have to speed up accordingly.
You have to run eight times staying inside the beep. It just gets faster and faster, but you have to keep on going until you can’t run any more.
I’ve always been pretty quick, having to run up and down the flanks as a full-back throughout my career.
I think I came about third from the whole group, but the fastest was Jess Clarke, who plays for Lincoln. She’s built like a Kenyan runner! I don’t think anyone was surprised that she came out on top.
As tough as it is, the yo-yo test is just one small part of the day. It all started at 10 o’clock. First we had all our skinfolds measured, which is basically a test to assess body fat. There were also balance tests, sprints, as well as jump tests and strength assessments.
All of our results are compiled by the England medical staff, including sports scientists, who will rank our performances against everyone else in the squad.
We last got tested in January, which was pre-season, so we should all have been a lot fitter this time around given that the season is in full swing now.
We’ll receive our results in a file posted to us in the next couple of weeks, so I’ll let you know how I did. Fingers crossed!
The results are broken down into a traffic light system — green, amber, red. Obviously if you’re in the red that shows you that you have an area in which you need to improve.
All these tests should help us get in top condition for this weekend’s matches. Arsenal have Lincoln tomorrow in the FA WSL Continental Cup and, as we’ve already exited the FA Women’s Cup and the Champions League, this game takes on massive importance for us.
At Arsenal, we always want to win as much silverware as possible so all our focus is on winning the remaining two competitions we’re in and claiming a double.
Still, despite being top of the league, I have to admit that the two cup shocks have hurt us. We’re still not playing at our best despite beating Liverpool quite comfortably last week.
We won 2-0, but both goals were from penalties so we’re eager to do better from open play. Kim Little scored both the spot kicks and she’s been excellent so far this season, but she needs more help from the rest of the team.
We know that we could come a cropper if we play at anything less than our best against Lincoln, who are a strong, physical team and have an England legend in Casey Stoney.
We’ll have to keep yo-yo test champion Jess Clarke quiet too. Playing in defence it’ll be my job to try and stop her!
Hopefully though by the end of the match I’ll be a step closer to another medal.