SportPesa Clubhouse column ambassador, Doctor Khumalo talks about the importance of pre-season and how the right preparation could lead to success at the end of the season.
"Now, when we talk about planning for the season, what most of the teams are doing is to assemble the players, put some players on transfer or loan them out. You bring in the players that will form part of the future and all of this is done before the pre-season. That way the pre-season is used to introduce the players into the club and the coach’s philosophy, so that everyone starts the season on the same page.
"Obviously, while this exercise helps, not everyone will adapt to the new environment immediately, for a number of different reasons, but it is advisable to use the first week of pre-season to play a team that is lower standard than you. That’s when you start playing friendlies against ‘smaller’ teams for the players to adjust to your philosophy, without much attention on winning or pushing them. That’s why you see teams playing tournaments in the last week of the pre-season because they have now reached the competitive level of their pre-season, which takes them a step closer to the league opener.
That’s why you find Mamelodi Sundowns playing in Botswana and Zambia, the KZN teams playing a tournament and the Soweto Derby Carling Black Label Cup. There’s no way these games could have been played in the first week of pre-season. Remember, the league games are all about three points and that’s why pre-season is so important. It is the only time you can experiment with combinations as a coach and work on physical, mental, social and nutritional components of the team, which are some of the factors that influence the performance.
I hope this helps our readers and supporters understand the importance of periodization and pre-season.