Alexandre Silva, assistant coach responsible for the fitness of Benfica's first team, revealed how the athletes are training in this period of isolation.
Strategy in the light of something new
"Due to this troubled period, we were forced to come up with new strategies for a different situation. Nobody's been through this before. Sometimes people compare this to an end of the season, but things are not really like that. It is important to stress that there is a whole multidisciplinary structure that is working and that it is indeed extremely important if things are to go well. I'm referring to the coaching staff, the Human Performance Department, the Operations Department, and our general manager [Tiago Pinto], who coordinates the whole operation."
Video analysis, exercise, nutrition, and monitoring
"We can resort to video analysis. Check what has been done in individual and collective terms of the games we are going to have. Our LAB has prescribed several exercise tasks, where I also establish some coordination and relationship with the coaching staff. We have our medical department, which is also following the progress of players who are still injured. The nutrition department is focused on nutrition and weight control in this period. The psychology department is helping players adapt to a different reality, where social isolation is greater, where there are players who have their families thousands of miles away. Only with a multidisciplinary approach can we have a strong intervention."
Maintain strength, stamina, and speed
"It's always difficult to fight the lack of training, but we're doing everything we can to ensure the parameters of strength, stamina and speed. In essence, it is to approach these physical qualities on an individual level, with the resources that we have and that are possible, considering the spatial limitations that our players have. (...) We know from UEFA indications that competitions may resume, and eventually will resume, in the second half of May. This gives us a break of about one and a half months. Knowing that we can return to training two weeks before the competition if things go well. The focus is on keeping players as connected as possible to the activity, the competition, because when we come back we know we have ten league matches to play, to win, to be able to defend the league title, and then one more challenge, which is to win the Portuguese Cup."
Text: Diogo Nascimento
Photos: SL Benfica