Monday, 27 March 2017
The Wide Boy Diary with Dion Sembie-Ferris
Whilst some non-league clubs splash the cash, looking for short term gain, other non-league sides are happy to give youth a chance and entrust a first team place with a young professional from a league side.
Dion Sembie-Ferris has been tearing it up for Concord Rangers since arriving on loan from Colchester United earlier in the season, but what is a normal week like for Dion? Well I spent some time with him to find out...
It's an early start on a Monday, as I go into training for 9am, so I can do some prepare myself for the session ahead with some light stretching and mobility work. If I haven't played at the weekend I will go out with the Under 23's later in the morning, but if I've had a game on Saturday, I'll just do some gym work to cool my body down.
Whilst on a Monday, the boys are quite curious on how I've got on at the weekend, and they will always ask what the game was like, as not many of them have experienced first team football. I think it's vital that as a young pro you get experience playing men's football as it is a world away from playing U23's. However the good thing about Colchester is that they always give their own players a chance, so hopefully my opportunity isn't too far away!
After I've lunched and showered I go home from training, but my day isn't done! I go to a gym which is close to my house where I will continue to mobilise my body, which involves massaging of the muscles, dynamic stretches in a cold pool, then I will unwind with a jacuzzi and a sauna.
Training on a Tuesday would be light for me, as I have training with Concord Rangers in the evening, so I'll do the technical part and some possession based play, before stepping out before the small-sided games begin.
There isn't much difference between the training at professional and non-league level. Both are based around technique and possession. At any level keeping the ball is vital. However on a Thursday at Concord the emphasis changes and is geared towards our opponent on the Saturday, and we work on areas that can give us the best chance of victory, be that working on our shape or working on our attacking moves.
Tuesday is a long day for me, as I won't get home till after 10pm, and as I've done two sessions I will have a cold bath to relieve my muscles.
Is a day off at Colchester, but not for me! I always go to the gym and work on things specific to my position on the pitch. It's key for me to always keep my explosive pace. It's one of my biggest attributes and working in the gym to maintain and better my pace is vital for me.
When I was younger I tried to base my style of play on Thierry Henry, he was my biggest idoal and I loved the way he ran with power and elegance on the ball and the affect he had on other team-mates around him. Nowadays I don't have a specific player I look up to, but when I watch football on the TV I try to focus on the wingers to see what they do, and implement some of their good things into my game.
Today is very similar to the Tuesday, and it's very much the same routine. As I said before Thursday evening's are focused with an eye on the game on Saturday. Flan and Glen (Adam Flanagan and Glen Alzapeidi) are always giving me good feedback on how I'm progressing and it's a great motivator for me to go out their on a Saturday and improve on my previous performance.
I think what I need to play at the highest level is to just be positive and believe in myself sometimes, that's my biggest downfall, so any encouragement I get from the coaching staff at Colchester or Concord is really beneficial to me.
Playing regular men's football I'm now finding myself believing in myself and willing to try things on the ball! I'm always going to give 100% so when the games over I can look back and think I couldn't have given anymore.
Again I'll get home late and have a cold bath to relax my muscles (Writer's note - always in the bath this boy!)
As it's the day before a game I make sure that I train well so I'm well prepared for the game on the Saturday. At Colchester we do small-sided games with the U23s and some of the youth team, so most of the time is spent playing inside in the dome at the training ground.
Training will finish at 130pm and then I'll go home, unwind, have a good meal and get a decent night's sleep ahead of the game tomorrow (Writer's Note .... no bath!?!)
Game Day! So I'll prepare with pasta and toast for breakfast with a smoothie and then I'll take a banana and some water for me for the journey towards the stadium as it was a long journey to Hungerford (Interview took place just after Hungerford away match) to make sure I have some small snacks to keep my energy levels for the match.
Long distance travel can affect some people, as it can cause tight muscles due to sitting down too long or even cause tiredness, but it shouldn't be used as an excuse for starting a game slowly. You can start a game slowly at your own ground! It's all down to getting in the right mindset, plus you have plenty of time shake-off any lethargy after travelling if you warm up properly before the game.
The dressing room is quite loud before a game, the music's on, Hoody is in charge of the music and it's quite decent to be fair, the boys are chatting away and it's quite relaxed beforehand, but as it get's closer to kick-off things get focused. The Gaffa gives us our instructions and we go out onto the pitch fully prepared and ready to win the game.
After the game and on the way back home on the coach, I will wear my compression socks which will help my muscle recovery. Then once home I'll have a cold bath (Writer's Note...there it is!)
Depending on how long I've played on the Saturday, I will use the Sunday to completely rest, or I will again go to the gym and do another pool session. I'll just chill on a Sunday evening, watch some TV and get ready to go for the next week ahead!