Back in the underground without full preparation after several weeks of capture, the best footballers in Europe have started a never before seen marathon in the summer heat which must be completed in June 2021 with the Euro. The season promises to be as constant as it is dangerous for the body and the soul.
The best players in the European Championships will have an intense summer before starting a new season which also promises to be very long. They were able to chain a hundred games up to the euro, which will take place in June 2021 after being postponed for one year.
Ninety minutes of football every three days at a temperature of 30 degrees is what the League or Serie A players will do in a few days, if the thermometers reach their usual heights, and then the teams qualified for the European Club Cups will switch from August to the last the stages of these competitions, then in September on a 2020-2021 season without a break, closed on July 11, 2021 of the final in Euro or Copa America.
“It’s been almost a year and a half in a year, it’s unknown,” said Nicolas Dyon, physical coach who passed through Rennes, Saint-Etienne or Nice. “Some international players will chain 100 games, it’s huge. For the players, it’s definitely going to be an important season.”
A season where staff turnover will be even more important: “Welcome to a basketball player’s shoes. Some will understand what it’s like to have an” on “day and then an” off day “, coach Aurélien Simon, who works individually with several professionals such as Andy Delort (Montpellier) and Ismaël Bennacer (AC Milan).
Fear of increased damage
This infernal calendar is not without risks to the players, especially since it starts without complete preparation after an unprecedented evasion due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “I will be curious to see the injury statistics at the end of next season. With such a sequence, the exposure to injuries is much greater. Fatigue builds up, and at some point the body will say stop,” worries Nicolas Dyon.
In major championships, these fears are shared, although the recovery has shown no major resuscitation of injuries.
In Spain, for example, AFE’s main players’ association La Liga asked that no match be played over 32 ° C. “We take great care of the recovery. It is very important,” Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane confirmed this week. “First and foremost because of the sanitation situation, with our return to the field. And then we have to add the heat factor. We know that the heat will be overwhelming from now on.”
“This is the season of all dangers, especially for championships other than France,” said Philippe Piat, president of the French players’ union UNFP and head of the Fifpro World Union. “I’m pretty skeptical and wonder how the players will finish it.”
Do not neglect mental work
How do you limit crime? “It’s not this year we’re going to do physical preparation, that’s for sure,” says Aurélien Simon. “We will see the real workers stand out. A season like this, we will not only survive talent,” he said.
Nicolas Dyon, for his part, points to a triple risk. “The first is the major injuries, of the cruciate ligament. The second is the usual case in the form from the beginning of winter, which will be earlier and more significant. And it’s burn-out, psychological decompression. Because the brain at one point decides. “
In the senses “invisible training will be crucial”, judges judge Raphaël Homat, a mental trainer who is regularly employed with several professional players. “Recovering on a cognitive and emotional level will be important and mental work, which is less tired for muscle, can be quite relevant.”
In this phase, the club’s supervision will be crucial. Some coaches have already gone in to condemn the afternoon matches in midsummer, such as Paolo Fonseca, the coach of AS Rome. Other techniques are challenging the late schedules, which are bad for recovery: “In this case, players risk real physical fatigue,” worried Ivo Pulcini, medical director at Lazio Rome.
Remains a lever to preserve the players, while the winter break will be shortened in many countries: the rest days. “It is really necessary that the coaches are not afraid to give their players five or six days,” Nicolas Dyon launches. “It’s important. Otherwise you lose them quickly. Physically and mentally.”