ATLETICO DE KOLKATA have kicked off their pre-season efforts with a set of emails sent out to players by their fitness coach Miguel Martinez. Composed under instructions from head coach Antonio Lopez Habas, the mails list a number of questions for the players as well as a workout routine for players to follow on their own before they join up with the team.
According to a news report published in Bengali tabloid Ebela, the mails enquire about the players' career records and fitness status in detail. Questions like when a player has last played a competitive/friendly match, has he started pre-season at a club, has there been any recent injury are included in the emails. The players are also required to narrate their career statistics at clubs and national teams, along with which positions they have played in the past, and how often. Finally, the players are asked if they can join the team's pre-season camp at Madrid, and if not, why.
Incidentally, two of ATK's defenders Arnab Mondal and Rino Anto have been included in the Indian national team by Stephen Constantine. They will join the Blue Tigers' camp in Pune on August 24th, ahead of their friendly against Nepal, follwoed by two World Cup Qualifier match against Iran. This means these two will only join the ATK team when they return from the Madrid training camp on 15th September.
Atletico de Kolkata are planning to play at least two friendly matches against foreign teams in various districts of West Bengal before taking on Chennaiyin FC on 3rd October; the first match in their ISL 2015 campaign.
Followed by questions are workout instructions each player is supposed to follow at home. The guide is complete with pictures detailing each excercise. Designed by Miguel Martinez who has worked as a fitness coach at top clubs in Spain and South Africa, as well as at the Angola national team, the workout routine is meant to condition the players' bodies in a certain way that prepares them for the intense training sessions that are to follow at the Madrid camp. Speaking to indiansuperleague.com, Martinez shared his philosophy during the inaugural ISL season,
"This is the third continent I have come to work, and I always try to give my best in these new challenges. I am here to share my experiences with the people here. I will be happy if they can learn from me... we don’t get enough time to train (between the matches), we just have to recover quickly and get ready to compete in the next match. We are trying to implement our ‘prevention programme’ to reduce the injuries, and trying to work as a tight team with the physio and the doctors.”
Last year, too, Atletico de Kolkata held their pre-season at Madrid, where Martinez sought to make use of the state-of-the-art training facilities available over there. His hard work bore fruit as most players managed to play through the intense ISL schedules, and helped ATK emerge as the first ever ISL champions. It was a feat that Martinez and Habas will want to repeat this season, as well.