Because this is a World Cup year, I have decided to countdown to the tournament by providing a short soccer/fitness related preview of each of the 32 participating nations. In this installment, I will look at Chile, a strong team that finished 3rd in South American qualification, behind only Argentina and Colombia. Chile are drawn in a tough group that includes Spain, Holland, and Australia, and they play their first match against Australia on June 13th.
Jorge Sampaoli, Chile’s Argentinian coach, was recently interviewed by fifa.com. Among the questions raised to him was what specific preparation concerned him most for the tournament. Here was his answer:
“I think that our World Cup preparations are going to have to be tailored, basically because the players will join up with us in different states of fitness – some will have played a lot of games, others not many. So we’re going to have to use individualized training methods, so that we can see how to handle those who’ve played 80 games and those who’ve played very few competitive matches.”
This response provides unique insight into the importance of individual preparation, including individual physical preparation, before big international tournaments like the World Cup. Almost all National teams are made up of players coming in from different clubs, often times from various different countries and even continents. Because they join their national teams at various different stages of physical development, having all the players do the same fitness training leading into the World Cup makes little sense. Individualized fitness training programs, catered to the individual needs of each player based on comprehensive physical fitness testing, are thus the only solution. Chile’s coach seems to have the correct mindset heading into the last few months of preparation for the World Cup. We will have to wait and see what happens in 3 months’ time.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this topic. Drop me a line here to get the conversation started.