Saints take in heights

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 28 Oktober 2012 | 14.43

Former Western Bulldogs fitness trainer Bill Davoren is taking the Saints to America. Picture: George Salpigtidis Source: Herald Sun

ST KILDA expects next month's Colorado training camp to develop into an annual high-altitude staple, along the same lines as Collingwood's visits to Arizona over the past decade.

"My understanding is it's a fairly long-standing commitment to make this an annual part of the pre-season regime," St Kilda high-performance manager Bill Daveron said.

Daveron, who joined St Kilda this month, said the Saints would gather the list in the days after the November 22 national draft and head to Boulder, Colorado, for a 16-day camp.

The team will fly out on November 27 and base itself at University of Colorado.

The group will stay at a hotel on the edge of the campus that is "within jogging distance of all the training facilities" and will incorporate several hikes in its itinerary.

A former Triathlon Australia head coach whose experience with altitude training dates to 1991, Daveron said Boulder was the training base for several high-profile Australian endurance athletes, such as four-time Olympic marathon runner Benita Willis and three-time ironman triathlon world champion Craig Alexander. Davoren hoped to involve one of them in the Saints camp.

"Boulder's been a bit of a Mecca for distance runners, but also for cycling and triathlon," Davoren said.

"I'm not sure that Craig will be there, but I'm working on getting an elite athlete from the endurance field to come in, talk to them and be involved."

The Saints may also look to take in some major sport while they are in Colorado. NFL team the Denver Broncos play Tampa Bay on December 2, while NBA outfit the Denver Nuggets play Toronto the following day.

While training at 1650m will improve the players' endurance and repeat-effort capacity, the Saints' new sports science manager, former Melbourne Storm guru Simon Kearney, will also examine sleep programs and conduct blood analysis.

"We're over there for 16 days which is what you need to put together an adequate exposure and training program," Davoren said, adding the expectation was to follow up with training sessions in the club's Seaford altitude chamber throughout season 2013.

"We might try to get some people into the altitude room a couple of times a week during the season, but that varies depending on their loads and fatigue and those sorts of things."

The club's 2012 draftees and its injured players will take part in the camp. Lenny Hayes, who had corrective heart surgery last month to repair a leaky valve, will also make the trip.

"He's certainly going on the trip," Davoren said. "Look there'll certainly be some modifications around Lenny, and that will be driven by the medical team, but the aim is that he'll be taking part in a number of the activities with us.

"Any players in rehab will continue on their programs and, because the facilities are so good, if anything we'll be able to monitor them more closely."

St Kilda's pre-season begins with the young players training on the day before the Melbourne Cup, and the older players resuming on November 12.

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