I once had an interesting conversation with an assistant men’s soccer coach. He and the guys on that team watched the first of our matches during a tournament before they left for their own match. Naturally, that was our weakest performance of the tournament. :-/
Recovering between matches
The question the soccer coach asked me had to do with how players handle playing multiple matches in a day. As he noted, soccer players in the US don’t play more than one match a day after about the age of 12. He was curious what was the biggest challenge for players when playing two matches. Is it the physical? Is it the mental?
I’m curious to hear what you think. Leave a comment below.
For my own part, I think it’s probably more mental than physical. Yes, there is definitely a physical element, especially for players who jump a lot. There’s a ton of mental energy exerted in especially a competitive match. Even as a coach I find myself wanting a nap after an intense match!
To be fair, though, volleyball players are used to multiple matches per day. That’s the deal for Juniors volleyball, after all. College players usually come from clubs that play in 2-3 day tournaments, and pool play rounds feature generally three matches a day. Obviously, those matches aren’t at the same level as a college match, and they are usually only best-of-3 rather than best-of-5. But the players are used to having to “get up” for a match multiple times a day. They are both mentally and physically conditioned for it.
Having said that, there is definitely a general push toward only playing one match per day. This is especially true at the upper levels of the college game.
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