Social Footballer: Players' perspective on loaded schedules
First I want to talk about what an amazing atmosphere there was at the game against NYRB. Over 41,000 people is a great number and I know that playing in front of that many people is an incredible experience for all of the players. I’d love to see that many people at every game (give or take due to Buck Shaw's capacity)!
The Quakes have quite a stretch of games coming up in the next month. It seems as though they have a game every few days. I wanted to share with everyone what that kind of stretch is like from a players' perspective.
As with everything, there are positives and negatives to this. Let’s start with the negatives.
The first is pretty obvious. By playing so many games so close together you are going to be completely exhausted. You have to be extremely disciplined about taking care of your body. This extends to every thing that you do. It starts with making sure that all of the food you are eating is healthy. You also need a mix of the proper kinds of food to optimize energy. You're also drinking water non-stop (and, consequently, making frequent stops in the bathroom). Every day after practice you have to get in the ice bath to help rejuvenate your legs and a lot of guys toss on spandex tights to aid in this process. When you pile travel on top of all of this, all of the rejuvenation becomes even that much more important.
On the positive side, every player enjos a game more than practice. Let’s be honest, that's why anybody gets into soccer - to play. With such little time between games, practices become more about recovery than really training. They tend to become more fun because there is a lot more actual game playing. The key to it all though is to make sure that you are winning most of the games because it makes the mood at practice much lighter.
With all of that said, this is also the time where teams set them selves up to make the playoffs or not. A ton of games in a small period of time means that there are a ton of points to be either won or lost, making this stretch one of the most important of the season.