With the international sides needing so many training slots the Thistles training offer is in conjuction with Midlands Masters training and, at present, is formed of the opportunity to play matches.
Sunday last in addition to the Thistles second slot at Dalnacraig, at Mike's offer I turned up for the earlier session to be welcomed and included in the Midlands Masters game on the first slot of the day. This had a broad spread of abilities and ages from 50 onwards; both men and women along with some weil kent faces who would stay on for the second Thistles-based slot. This mix meant that the pace of the game flexed from routine to fast depending on which age group had possession at the time. Sometimes you have to accept you are not going to catch the 50 yr old (probably really a 30 yr old who was along with his dad) but this also pushes you to adapt like we have to do when playing against one of the stronger Thistles' opposition.
For the Thistles-based session we are dependent on our numbers. The previous session had two Thistles teams with a small smattering of Midland Masters; this session was slightly more that one Thistles team and a full team and a half of Midlands Masters boys and girls. The pace was slightly more like we are used to with more space on the pitch however the standard remained high creating real pressure on attack and defence at circle approach.
A lot of the time Thistles turns up at an event and we spend the first match learning each others' strengths (and playing "who's that?") and only then do we create coherence. However if we can get significant numbers for this designated Thistles Training at Dundee then we field all our players in the match and the coherence starts to develop. Also, if the numbers are present then I would suggest we use an hour beforehand for Thistles-dedicated tactical training (structure of attack, goalscoring, PCs etc) on the sand pitch and follow that with a match on the water-based finishing with a round of fist bumps and a written test on what each others' names were.