Many seasoned professionals will tell you that pre-season training gets harder and harder every year.
As the sports-science develops, a key tool in the modern-day preparations for a new football season, the range of activities involved in the build-up to a new campaign continues to grow and so the limbs ache that little bit more.
But for fresh-faced youngster Joe Cracknell, this pre-season holds no fears.
The young goalkeeper is enjoying the early days of his first pre-season as a full-time professional. Handed a contract by manager Steve Bruce, last season’s youth team stopper is looking forward to finding out what a summer with the first team squad will hold and it has all been good so far.
“There was a lot of prodding and poking on the first day with all of the tests that we were put through at the University,” admitted Cracknell.
“That was all quite new to me, but it was good and it is only done to help us as we progress. It’s amazing the sort of things they can find out through all of these different tests and it’s something I’m sure we’ll get used to.
“It’s fantastic to be a part of all of this and I’m proud to be doing it with my hometown club. It was really pleasing to find out that I’d been offered a contract here.”
Despite this being his first summer as a professional, the first team environment certainly isn’t unfamiliar to Cracknell.
The teenager was an unused substitute for the first team on a couple of occasions during the 2011/12 season and he hopes to eventually make the breakthrough into the senior ranks, although the forthcoming campaign will see Cracknell form part of Stephen Clemence’s Development Squad.
“I’m very much looking forward to the new season,” said the goalkeeper.
“Hopefully I can get some game time with the Reserves and try to impress the coaching staff by showing what I can do.
“It’s a big season as it is my first as a professional and I just want to do as well as I can. I want to keep on developing with the other young lads and I’m sure we’ll keep pushing each other along.”
Cracknell is a product of the club’s Academy having been with the Tigers since the age of nine.
Although it is his talent and drive to succeed that has ultimately brought professional rewards, Cracknell knows he couldn’t have made it this far without the support and expertise of the club’s youth coaches.
“A huge amount of credit has to go to the youth staff at the club,” added Cracknell.
“The coaches I’ve had here from the age of nine all the way through to the youth team with Billy Russell and Neil Mann have been incredible.
“They’ve taught me a lot and have helped me to reach this stage.”