Members of the Ospreys age-grade set-up were put through their paces at a special pre-season boot camp at the MoD operated Sennybridge Training Area (SENTA), close to Brecon, earlier this week.
The teenagers, all part of the Ospreys U18 squad, spent three days on camp where they were pushed to the limit in a series of physical and fitness tests, combined with problem solving tasks out in the field, as well as some invaluable classroom sessions designed to aid their self-development.
A regular part of the pre-season programme for the Eyasses, the boot camp provides an opportunity to not only help new-look group to get to know each other, but to also help develop squad character and mental toughness ahead of the new season.
Kitted out in full army uniform on arrival, the players spent a night in the woods where they received lessons in packing their burgen packs, how to cook army rations, camouflage and concealment and erecting a makeshift overnight shelter.
Other activities saw the players undertake a major physical test when they completed an obstacle course leading straight into a weighted stretcher carry, finished off by team run, all dressed in full military gear.
Back in the classroom Dr Steve Mellalieu from Swansea University and a leading sports psychology consultant there were Elite Performance Psychologist Steve Mellalieu delivered a session that covered personal values and goals, while leading life skills coach Julie Britton spoke with the group about their experiences from the camp, targets for season and self acknowledgement.
Regional Performance Development Manager, Andrew Millward, said that the trip had been a great experience for the young Ospreys:
"Taking a group of youngsters to Sennybridge Training Camp provides them with a fantastic experience and a real test of their mental and physical strength. It’s hard work, very tiring, and this time as always we’ve seen you men digging in and showing a lot of the characteristics we are looking for in our future players so it’s an important part of their development programme.
"Probably the highlight for myself was the ‘Red Light’ game where the boys had to try to infiltrate an Army personnel area, with flares and gunfire going off all around them and military personnel attempting to capture them. You learn a lot about yourself crawling through thistles and sheep dung for 200 metres trying to avoid detection!
"Once again, we are extremely grateful to the officers and servicemen based in Sennybridge for making this fantastic development opportunity possible."