It was all thumbs up for Usain Bolt on Saturday. Picture: AAP
It was all thumbs up for Usain Bolt on Saturday. Picture: AAP

Bolt sets new record in Mariners gym

GOOD luck to anyone wanting to break a power record inside the Mariners gym ever again.

For right now, some Central Coast rookie is rewriting them all.

And easily.

"How good are Usain Bolt's numbers? Oh, they're scary," laughs Mariners head of performance Andrew Young.

"Over the first couple of days, maybe because of the jet lag, he was doing stuff that was good without being incredible.

"But then on Saturday morning, we did some work and it really was high end. The power he produces in his legs … it's comfortably ahead of anyone else."

While Bolt may have been the undeniable focus of fans, photographers, even journalists at an A-League trial in Maitland on Saturday night - where he did little but shout encouragement from the Mariners dugout - the real story came hours earlier.

In a private session at Mariners HQ.

Where under the watchful eye of Young, the world's fastest man was pushed through a gruelling aerobic session that involved a series of repeated running efforts with little break.

Before starting, Bolt also recorded "outstanding" numbers on a force plate in the club gym.

Andrew Young has been mightily impressed with Bolt. Picture: Getty Images
Andrew Young has been mightily impressed with Bolt. Picture: Getty Images

According to Young, the workout confirmed Bolt will be ready to play up to 15 minutes in what is shaping to be a blockbuster trial match at Central Coast Stadium this Friday night.

But as for being A-League ready?

Remembering that, yes, those power results are wonderful if you want Bolt to be, oh, I dunno, an Olympic sprinter.

But playing on the Mariners left wing?

"As of right now, Usain's not in the type of condition required to play A-League," Young conceded.

"But this is a long-term project.

The good news is Bolt will get the chance to see some serious action. Picture: Brett Costello
The good news is Bolt will get the chance to see some serious action. Picture: Brett Costello

"Without going into specific detail about Saturday morning's session, it was hard work.

"We ran Usain longer that what he's used to. And with less recovery time.

"We have to work on his aerobic capacity and he knows that."

So as for when Bolt could be A-League ready?

"This isn't going to be something that's completed in three, four or five weeks," Young continued. "It won't be done in eight weeks.

"It's not an easy project, so everybody here needs to be patient.

"So we'll give him a run this Friday night. For how long depends on how he goes in sessions over the first couple of days this week, but the goal will probably be for him to play between 10 and 15 minutes."

Bolt high fives young fans in the crowd at Maitland Sportsground on Saturday. Picture: AAP
Bolt high fives young fans in the crowd at Maitland Sportsground on Saturday. Picture: AAP

Apart from his Saturday aerobic hitout, Bolt also set a new record on the Mariners force plate.

Used to assess neuromuscular fatigue in players' legs, jumping on a force plate also measures 200 other variables - including the power an athlete produces.

"And Saturday, Usain's numbers were scary," Young said. "We've seen it a couple of times (in ballwork) too, the way he accelerates is on another level.

"And the great thing from our point of view is that he wants to work hard and genuinely loves the game.

"I'm not just saying that, either.

"Usain would absolutely watch more football than anyone else in our squad. He definitely wants this."