Danny Deigan: High-intensity fitness work to help India cope with Asian Cup demands

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AIFF Media
The Australian Sports Scientist feels Indian players need regular exposure to high-intensity training methods....

In recent times, Indian players have been extremely professional when it comes to training and recovery, says the national team's Sports Scientist Danny Deigan.

Also the Strength & Conditioning coach, Deigan is focused on ensuring the team stays fresh, rested and raring to go on matchdays as the AFC Asian Cup fast approaches.

"The professionalism of the India national team players has improved with regards to the intensity of their training on the pitch and their recovery and maintenance off the pitch. There has been a strong emphasis on promoting these behaviours in the national team environment and educating players on the importance of these areas," Deigan told Goal.

The Australian has been a major factor behind the Indian team's steady rise in fitness levels - an area that has allowed them to churn out competitive results against tough opponents. But he feels that Indian players need more consistent exposure to a competitive football.

"The big difference between India and other countries is consistent daily exposure to a performance environment with evidence-based methods being used to improve player condition and performance. To compete physically on a regular basis with the best teams in Asia, players need to have ongoing exposure to high-intensity physical football actions and recovery methods.

"This way, the time with the national team can be spent on fine-tuning and improving the technical and tactical elements that improve performance."

One of the lingering criticisms that the Blue Tigers have faced is that they have faced very few preparatory games in the run up to the tournament. India are set to take on Thailand, Bahrain and UAE in the Group A games within a span of 10 days and the fitness of the players to do so could be under the scanner.

India Oman Asian Cup

However, Deigan feels that the team is suitably prepared for the challenge, given his work with them on physique.

"A lot of our training has been around replicating high-intensity physical football actions so that our players have multiple game exposure in a week, simulating the physical requirements of the intensified Asian Cup schedule," he said.

"We are very familiar with the capacity and conditions of our players after a period of training with a physical emphasis on fitness, and now our focus during the Asian Cup will be towards ensuring that the players stay fresh and ready to perform their best.

"To facilitate this, our players will have ice baths, pool recovery sessions, massage and some mental downtime around matches."

Deigan also talked up the importance of dietary patterns in a players' recovery and training sessions.

"Diet is essential to fuel players intensity and longevity in training and matches on the field. It helps promote recovery and regeneration in between sessions and matches. The needs of professional football players are different to the general population and it is important they are given the right advice and nutritional options so that their nutrition fits in with their training and playing requirements.

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Deigan also went on to stress that a longer camp (according to him) only helped him improve the team's fitness levels.

"The players have come back to the national camp in varying physical condition from the clubs. The work they do with their clubs has a great emphasis on what we can achieve with them physically whilst minimising risk of injury. Longer camps such as this one have given us an opportunity to improve the players' fitness whilst in the shorter camps, the focus has to be on ensuring they are fresh and ready to play."

 

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