With the Ligue 1 Conforama suspended to prevent further spread of the coronavirus pandemic, player fitness has become a key issue - but a number of French clubs are finding novel ways to keep their stars in shape.
For several days now, the Ligue 1 Conforama clubs have had their doors closed in order to prevent any further spread of the coronavirus. Nevertheless, players must absolutely keep in shape.
"We have provided all the players with equipment to meet their needs. Many players have taken bikes and machines from the Centre to be able to work at home," revealed AS Monaco fitness trainer Juanjo Del Ojo, who had to create a tailor-made programme for each of the players, on the club's website. "We work in the form of challenges. Every day, work is associated with an objective and each objective achieved earns points. The players are motivated because they want to win, it's a good formula to maintain physical condition. The players have reacted very well."
AS Monaco coach Robert Moreno detailed the battle plan that the principality club has hatched to deal with what is an unprecedented case for the entire footballing world.
"We thought about the needs of each player: whether he has a gym at his disposal or, on the contrary, what equipment we could provided him, how we could help with his dietary requirements, etc," detailed the Spaniard, who is hoping to improve on his side's current ranking of ninth and fight for a place in Europe when competition resumes.
"In this programme, we have also integrated tactical information to allow the players to deepen the work we have already done together. The aim is to make the most of a situation that we unfortunately cannot control: keeping the players in shape and taking advantage of the time spent at home to work on aspects that, when we go from game to game, are not obvious."
Moreno: 'Work better'
To keep in touch with his players and monitor their fitness, the technician stressed the contribution of technology.
"It is fundamental in today's football. Even more so in a situation like this. To give the players the motivation they need, we make sure that everyone can measure up to themselves, but also to their team-mates; all the while keeping a playful spirit," he explained. "Technology allows us to have daily contact with the players, through different means, to enable them to work better. And it works well because the players are very attentive to their condition, and very receptive to these tools."
Like ASM, FC Metz have also provided their professional squad with equipment for training.
"FC Metz wanted to allow all its first-team players to maintain daily contact with the ball, by providing a SenseBall to each of its players", says the club on its website. "The SenseBall, a size 3 ball connected to a handle by a rope, allows you to perform - alone at home - a large number of exercises. With 20 minutes of exercise per day, you can hit the ball about 2,500 times, which is much more than during a traditional training session."
In addition to the ball, the players have been given an access code to 50 videos of exercises that allow them to develop "ambidexterity, speed of execution and coordination - and therefore technique".