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Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Pre Season - why is it so important



Many people in and out of football have views on pre season tours, games and results and the importance of all of them. Some people worry about all the games the players are playing throughout a season that they think they shouldn't play so many during the season. Some believe that with all the travelling in European competition, that players shouldn't be touring these far away places in the world as part of their preparations. Some have the belief that results mean nothing in pre season games. Ah the joys of opinions! This is why I love football and love to talk about it, because so many people seem to have so many different views on the game. Here are my views on pre season.

I was asked a question recently, is pre season important? As you can imagine it didn't take me long to say, YES! Every single part of pre season is vitally important to the clubs involved, whether the manager, the players, the back room staff and the club as a whole.

THE PLAYER

For the players it is vital to be up to speed, physically and mentally, to be ready for the new season and the demands that a season can have on a player. After time off during the summer, the mental state of a player is so important, as they need to become focused on their task ahead. Games are crucial for players to gel together as a unit and for new players to gel with the existing players both on and off the field.
If you asked players whether pre season results are important, what do you think the answer would be?......YES. Players want to win games and they hate losing. I have been playing myself for 25 years and never once enjoyed losing, whether at lunch time at school or a pre season friendly. Players like to win and get that locked into their mental state. It is vital to continue that winning feeling into a full competitive season.

For the manager

Hugely important preparation for his team. The manager needs to make sure his players are ready to go, that he has a preferred formation in mind for the season ahead and that he knows who his strongest players are in all the positions across the team. For newer managers coming into clubs, this is of course even more important. AVB at Cheksea, McLeish at Villa and Martin Jol at Fulham, this greatly applies to them. Yes managers know of players, have seen them play and know full well their abilities and reputations, but players can make a huge impact on a new manager of a team, especially the fringe players. Tours are crucial to help the manager gel his team off the field to ensure there is a strong harmony around his squad, which makes the job as manager that little bit easier.

For the Club
With the huge importance of money now a days in the game, Pre Season tours are a huge part of raising more funds for the running of the club. Tours of Asia, which is an increasingly popular destination amongst clubs in the premiership, help increase merchandise sales, build the club profile in a different part of the world, which all can ultimately lead to big financial benefits from TV deals and sponsorships from these countries. Clubs want to be known throughout the world, and pre season is a perfect opportunity to achieve this.

Negatives of pre season

There are always going to be negatives and my view they are outweighed heavily by the positives. The main negative for me is the risk of injury and exhaustion. Pre season tours can often mean a lot of travelling, jet lag for players and playing on uneven surfaces, which can lead to injuries. For managers, this is just a risk they have to live with and of course is a risk whenever a player steps on to a football field.

If you have any views on pre season that I may have missed or that you have then feel free to comment on my post.

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