SEN South Australian correspondent Tom Rehn believes Adelaide coach Don Pyke’s obsession with wanting be ahead of the curve led him to conducting the controversial preseason camp.
The deep and personal nature of the camp was designed to challenge the players’ mental strength, with the conversations being linked to family members, causing an emotional strain on certain members of the team, including star forward Eddie Betts.
Rehn says the camp caught a number of players off guard as Pyke looked to gain an edge in order to take last year’s Grand Finalists one better in 2018.
“It wasn’t just their footballing success and how they performed in the Grand Final, there was that element of course, but it was a lot about uncomfortable situations with family members.
“Without being there, it’s difficult to know absolutely exactly, I think a lot of it was personal and I think that’s probably hit a few players or caught them off guard.
“I think that’s where perhaps a bit of the angst has come from.
“He (Pyke) is one of the most well-read people I know.
“He’s almost reading four or five books at one time, he’s that kind of guy. He’s constantly looking for the next edge and I think he’s looking to push it.
“He’s spoken several times about that need to push into the mental space, and that’s why I think he was so keen on it.
“Maybe that’s one of the reasons why there has been a few teething issues because it is the great unknown – how do you tap into an athlete’s psyche?
“Do you go hard? Do you go soft? Do you show love? Do you show tough love? And I think he’s exploring that and he makes no apologies for it.
“I think he’s backing it in saying: ‘I’m not going to please everyone, but I might get the best performance out of them and it might mean the difference between winning a flag or otherwise.’”
Originally published on SEN.com.au