February Window: 3 Games In Australia
Throughout a calendar year there are set FIFA Windows in which all club (professional) teams go on break for about 10 days while players leave to represent their National teams. In February, there was one of those windows, and we were invited to Australia to compete in the Cup of Nations tournament with Spain, Czech Republic and Australia. Each of these teams are highly ranked- Spain 7, Czech Republic 28, Australia 12, and Jamaica 44. We were excited for this tournament for several reasons.
First and foremost, we were able to head to the host of the World Cup this summer early. We got to feel what it’s like to travel across the world, from the States it is 5 hours to LA and then 15 hours to Sydney. We got to experience the food, see how organized, clean and professional things will be.
Secondly, we were able to play world-class competition. We were able to try different formations, we were able to look at different players in different positions. We were able to further identify which players may and may not make the final roster. We did not get the results we wanted, but in the end we walked away with lots of valuable information.
Playing three games in a window is always tight but adding in the travel around the world and losing a day during travel definitely made things challenging. For our players who played a game with their club team on Sunday, they couldn’t fly out until Monday. Because you lose a day, they didn’t actually arrive until Wednesday (MD-1) with our first game on Thursday. For another 4 players, they had a flight cancelled and didn’t actually arrive until the day of the game which obviously makes them unavailable for the game. We then had one day to prepare for our first game, and then two days between games for the next two games.
So, what was my role… before the trip I sent the following information:
If you are traveling from the USA you will have a 15-17 hour time change.
If you are traveling England/France you will have 10-11 hour time change.
It looks like most everyone will be traveling 25-35 hours.
The last variable to consider is most of you will also be traveling right after playing a match.
Here’s the best advice I can provide.
- Club game – after your club game get a proper warm down preferably on a bike or with a Marc Pro (or any other contraction device). Also get a proper meal and hydration after the game.
- Food – Try to have a healthy meal prior to your flight and bring your own healthy snacks. The food on the plane is crap.
- Drink – Stay hydrated, avoid juice and sugar drinks and minimize caffeine. If your a coffee drinker try to get on the schedule of our destination time and not drink coffee in the middle of the night on a flight.
- Sleep – I will say sleep as much as possible. I’d rather you have slept that not slept. We will try our best to get everyone back on track that first day.
- Move – If you’re not sleeping I do recommend getting up, walk around, do some squats, have a stretch. Set your alarm for every hour.
- Stim Devices – If you have a Marc Pro, Compex, PowerDot, or another muscle stimulation device I strongly recommend using it on the flight.
- Melatonin – Dr Lawrence recommends using a low dose of 1-2 mg about 30 mins prior to flight. She will also have recommendations once in Australia, and will have some on hand.
- Post-flight – there needs to be a lot of day time light if arrival is in the am. There can be short naps throughout the day but no longer than 20 mins.
We also recommended an app called Timeshifter. Pretty cool app where you plug in all your flight information and 2 days out it begins to give you advice on sleep, light, caffeine, etc.
The next thing to manage is the players load. Not only do we have to consider 3 games in 10 days, but we also have to consider the game(s) with their club team before they arrived. Furthermore, we can’t send them back to their club teams so exhausted that they need a week to recover.
So needless to say my focus on this trip was sleep, recovery and readiness.
We will be back in action in April.