Head of Medical and Sports Science Stijn Vandenbroucke on summer training programmes – with Spire Roding Hospital...
With our early start in the UEFA Europa League and prolonged run in the Emirates FA Cup, our season was considerably longer than normal.
Therefore, it is vitally important that the players give their bodies and minds sufficient rest that they both need and deserve.
Once they are refreshed, they will begin progressive individual maintenance programmes prior to returning for pre-season training.
The off-season programme involves schedules for each player to follow over the next two months, along with the strength and conditioning work they are required to complete.
After a long season that included more games than normal, it is important that they fully rest in the beginning and then meet their individual programmes to enable them to come back in the right condition.
We hit the ground running in pre-season as we go to the United States, with a competitive game against Seattle Sounders early July, so this will require professionalism from the players and staff to be ready.
It is important that the players do not rest for too long, so every player has been given an off-season programme that stipulates every exercise that they have to do to keep themselves in good shape.
For example, the players rested from the end of the season and will do so until 9 June, when they start their first strength and conditioning session. This starts generally and slowly progresses to specific football related work.
We have a number of international players who have continued to train since the end of the season and we congratulate them on making their respective county’s final selections, whether that be for Euro 2016, the Copa America, Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers or international friendly matches.
For them, the off-season plan looks completely different as they will train and play until they are finished with their international commitments, and will then be important for them to have a few weeks to rest and recover mentally and physically before they join us after a specified period.
For example, the four players who are taking part in the Euros will obviously finish at different times depending on how far their nations go in the competition – and of course we want them to go as far as possible.
These players will of course have a shorter off-season, but they still need a period of rest.
Even if one or more of our players reaches the Euro 2016 final, there are still a few weeks from then until the start of the Premier League season.
West Ham is on a journey and we want to be a top team, so the experience the players have at big tournaments like the European Championship finals will only benefit us as a Club.
One other aspect to consider is that we have reached the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round, which starts on 28 July.
Last season was a real challenge when we started in the first qualifying round, but we got the players fit and ready and we have confidence as a staff that we will do so again this time around.
Head of Medical and Sports Science