The Saddlers squad reported back for duty last Wednesday and are due to face Rushall Olympic in their first friendly of the summer on Friday.
But while pre-season training is often notorious for lots of running and fitness work, Keates is keen to make it as fun as possible.
“They’ll be doing running – but it will be disguised running!” the boss said.
“We did one real run on the first day but that was more for the sports science side of things.
“We needed to look at heart rates and to know if we are doing enough with some players or maybe too much with some players.
“There was only one run they did without a ball and that was for data. Everything else was with the ball.
“Things have changed from the days when you come in and go ‘bang, do a 10-mile run’.
“Every manager has their own philosophy and how they want to do it.
“But that is not the way I want to operate.
“I think if you play with a football, it’s not just all about running.
“It’s important to get the mentality right. Everything we do will be done with a ball.
“But if they don’t do it right with the ball, we can put them away and they can just run.
“But I do want it to be enjoyable. We are football players, we aren’t runners.
“It’s a big part of my game and was a big part of my game when I was a player.
“But I believe in getting fit with a football.”
Meanwhile, fans will have the chance to see the players build up to the new season when Walsall hold an open training session on Wednesday, August 1.
The session will take place at the Banks’s Stadium from 10.30am and is free to enter. Supporters will also have the change to have pictures taken with the squad and manager Keates.