Europe’s top clubs and leading players are back in European competition action this month after the COVID-19 break – an ideal moment for UEFA Direct’s coaching supplement, The Technician, to examine the challenges of getting players fit and ready for match play after this enforced period of inactivity.
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Following the long months of absence owing to the worldwide pandemic, there’s been excitement and relief in the air recently with the gradual return of elite football competitions across Europe, albeit with few or no spectators and according to strict health regulations.
Now it’s the turn of UEFA’s club competitions to take centre stage this month, with a unique programme of matches in Portugal, Germany and Spain closing the 2019/20 season in the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Women’s Champions League respectively.
Physical and mental preparation
Part of the process of getting ready to play competitive football again after the game’s unprecedented pause due to the COVID-19 crisis is making sure that the key actors on the field – the players – are in the right physical and mental shape for the action to come.
How have trainers helped players maintain fitness during the long COVID-19 lockdown, and what challenges do they face in getting them match-fit and mentally prepared?
In this special report, published in the latest edition of UEFA Direct’s technical and coaching supplement, The Technician, we speak to coaching staff, physical trainers and medical experts from around Europe to gain an understanding of the impact of this hiatus on players’ bodies and minds – and the work done, both during the confinement period and afterwards, to get players back on the pitch.
• Trainers: How trainers have helped players maintain fitness during the long COVID-19 lockdown; and the challenges of getting them match-fit again
• Fitness coaches: The dangers of returning to football after a long pause and limited preparation time; and possible steps to reduce the risk of injury
• Experts: Expert opinion on the positives taken and lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis
• Astronauts: French International Space Station astronaut Thomas Pesquet offers key lessons for footballers from his six months in space