It has now been about four months since I first started working with a new team, the U19 squad of Getafe CF. And it has been a rollercoaster of events to say the least.
Strap yourself in for a white-knuckle ride (they didn’t say when I signed my contract). But this is how it went down.
The league had already started and the team and the technical staff were suffering under the pressure. Due to the 1st team struggling to stay out of the relegation zone. Getafe had risen through the Spanish football pyramid to La Liga with spectacular speed. Subsequently, the journey down the ladder looked to match the velocity up.
After two or three weeks, trainings and games came to a complete halt. Due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the team after one fateful bus ride, everything was postponed.
Enter a new coach
During this hiatus, I found out that our coach had moved on and the team were going in a new technical direction. I received the news with mixed emotions but saw a small opportunity emerge. Because the existing coach had been at the club for about three years and had firm favorites within the squad already.
Working with a new coach in a team opens the window to put your best foot forward and showcase your skills. As whoever is entering doesn’t know as much about the players and each coach has their own philosophy of play.
They will also value certain characteristics in players that a previous coach wouldn’t notice. This fueled my motivation to make a great first impression.
Preparation and recovery
I doubled down on going to the gym. This included long sessions twice a day and a mix of yoga, pilates, strength exercises and recovery. I focused on eating healthily which included shopping for my food, preparing my meals and cooking them. And I leaned into the space and privacy of the apartment. I earned some valuable down time and I relaxed by watching YouTube videos and Netflix shows or playing video games.
Recovery from the busyness of the preceding months was made even easier thanks to the massive, comfortable bed my host provided. Because eight to ten hours sleep each day is a non-negotiable for both physical and mental health. For me (at least), it is one of the easiest habits to commit to.
Working with a new team begins
As the holidays came to an end, the time to start working with my new team approached. Then I got a call informing me that a new coach had been appointed and that I would start training in the upcoming days. Naturally I was very excited and keen to put my boots on and get out on the field again.
I arrived at the training facility to introduce myself to the new technical staff. From the outset, it was clear that the coaches demanded perfection and results. But more than that, the coaches were talking and making jokes with the players to establish a rapport. All in all, it was a promising start.
That said, it was obvious that the previous coach and the technical director of the youth academy had spoken with the current coach in their handover. As he hit the ground running and was already speaking privately with a selected few to talk about his plans for them.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of working with a new team
I’m going to need a Part 2 for this story. Get ready for the next installment where I share some of the feedback that I’m getting from my coach. In the meantime, drop a note below to share your experience with how you prepared for a new opportunity or challenge.