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PSG: exercises with the ball, recovery work, cohesion games… behind the scenes of the physical preparation of Parisians

GOAL delves into the physical preparation of PSG before the resumption of Ligue 1 against Clermont this Saturday.

A complete and disputed match until the last minutes, PSG started its season against Nantes with a trophy (4-0, July 31) by suggesting surprising physical arrangements. Goal looks back on the physical preparation of the Parisians and explains how it was thought out by Christophe Galtier and his technical staff.

Before the resumption, homework well done

Tuesday, July 5, to the surprise of observers and supporters of PSG, Messi, Neymar and Marquinhos, among others, arrive at the Camp des Loges to carry out the first examinations which precede their return to training. An early recovery for these three? Not at all, the new staff simply changed the program concocted by the previous one and which provided for a return of all internationals on July 11.

Finally, Parisians were granted a minimum of 28 days off, almost a month’s vacation, even if some like Navas and Donnarumma returned early after a three-week break. During their holidays, the players followed the program prepared by the new staff, which replaced the one laid down by the old one.

“On a physical level, they have prepared their season well at home before the resumption”, noted Christophe Galtier after the victory in the Champions Trophy. The staff was able to see that many players had come back sharp. Neymar and Messi, for example, worked almost daily during this rest period. And a month later, their first performance impressed everyone, in particular thanks to a volume of play rarely seen until then.

The ball at the heart of physical preparation

With matches every three days from August 28, time to work on tactics is going to be in short supply. As when Christophe Galtier was on the Lille bench, tactical and technical questions were integrated into the very large part of the Parisian preparation.

Before entering the field, the players first had the right to strength exercises before the collective training on the lawn of the Ooredoo center, where the sessions are then of short duration, but with a significant intensity from the first minute. Workloads have been regulated according to the days of the week and the distance to the next match.

What Christophe Galtier explained during the pre-match press conference against Clermont: “We are more in a logic of week after week, obviously with a reflection on the calendars, to ensure that we have a weekly work cycle when there is one match per week with very specific workloads each day, but always including a lot of technical and tactical work. »

Under the watchful eye of Pedro Gomez, PSG’s new physical trainer, all the exercises performed on the lawn of the training ground had a common denominator: the ball! The preparation was done on the ball in order to first be more playful, and therefore easy to digest, but also to already plan on situations which are as close as possible to those of the matches.

Cohesion games and competitive challenges

A large circle of 25 players, bursts of laughter and cries that cross the Bloomfield stadium in Tel Aviv. Yes, you are good at PSG training. On the eve of the match against FC Nantes, the session begins with a giant dodgeball where an element of the group must resist all its partners who must make a defined number of passes before touching it. The loser(s) will have to perform ten push-ups.

In the process, the Parisians continue on a second exercise. A sort of two-by-two cat. Do these games contrast with the rigor announced by Luis Campos and Christophe Galtier? No way. Since the arrival of the duo, the sessions always start with these playful exercises and those who were present in Japan or who watched the first 15 minutes of Thursday’s training could see it.

The new Parisian technician and his staff have chosen to use this type of process to work on group cohesion and the happy coexistence of each, but also to break up the groups that formed last season at the start of each warm-up during training exercises. bull.

During PSG’s physical preparation, the staff also took into account the very high technical quality of the squad and introduced constant competitive challenges to stimulate player participation on a daily basis.

Calendar, travel and recovery

In Lille, the year of the title, Luis Campos had given particular importance to optimizing recovery between matches and trips. With the calendar overloaded until November 13, date of the last match before the departure of the internationals for the World Cup, this experience should not be too much.

During the preparation, the staff was also attentive to the concept of recovery. The workloads have been arranged according to the distance of the matches or the place of training. In Japan, for example, the first sessions were shortened in order to facilitate the adaptation of the players to the climatic conditions. And great attention has been paid to their hydration, humidity requires.

To cope with the upcoming schedule, “coordination between the technical staff, the medical and performance services is essential to optimize the recovery of players from match to match, especially in a period of high competition density”, we explain. in the Parisian environment. In this perspective, the “data that we will have on the state of form of each other”, will be of fundamental importance, explained Galtier. And the density of the workforce too.

How to manage after the World Cup?

It is an unknown that all the clubs whose internationals will go to the World Cup in Qatar (November 21 to December 18) will face. What impact can this World Cup in the middle of the season have on the physical condition of Parisians who could be absent for at least six weeks?

Separated from the undesirables, between 13 and 15 players could go to Qatar during the fall. To manage their return as well as possible, the PSG does not intend to revolutionize practices, but quite simply to make an inventory of fixtures individualized for each case.

Depending on how long the internationals will spend with their selection and the degree of participation, recovery and (re)adaptation strategies will be presented to the globalists. And special attention should be paid to their mental condition.

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