Rest and relaxation. A tried and trusted method which has served Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston well during past Championship Shield campaigns.
This year is no different for Aston, who is set to welcome his troops back to the hard grind after a week away from the club, as the business end of the Championship season begins this Sunday.
Following the introduction of the current format, the Eagles chief has always allowed his troops a week-long holiday during the enforced break, and his method has generally seen an improvement with two Championship Shield finals in the previous two seasons.
In the hard knocks nature of Championship rugby league, Aston is conscious his players need rest as he looks to nurse his slender squad into a crucial period for the club.
“The lads have been away for a week, it is important,” he explained to The Star.
“We played last Sunday and then they were off. We do this every year. I think that the players always benefit from a bit of time away from the club. It is a chance to spend some time with their family, and an opportunity to recharge the batteries as we build up to the final stage of the season and the last seven games.”
The likes of Ben Blackmore and Menzie Yere have been kept under close observation by the experienced coach who knows an injury crisis similar to the one earlier in the campaign would put serious strain on what is already a squad short on numbers.
Aston knows that he doesn’t have the luxury of making wholesale changes, and will be keeping his fingers crossed that the relationship with St Helens continues to bear fruit.
With another trip to Leigh on the horizon this Sunday, Aston will be hopeful that the rest will have given his troops the necessary boost ahead of another tough trip.
“Everyone is carrying something at this time of the season,” he added.
“There will be a number I would suggest who have suffered knocks.
"We had to get them off their feet, give them a week away and if they had chance to get away on holiday then that’s even better for them.
"When they come back they will be fully recharged and ready to play. People like Matty James, Shaun Pick – players who really put their body on the line every week – needed the break.”