Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray believes his decision to train in the afternoons and move the players’ traditional day off from Wednesday to Thursday are paying dividends.
The Stags boss has implemented a lot of new ideas and methods to the club as he tries to find extra one per cents here and there.
“This is my opinion,” he said. “I am not saying it’s right or wrong, but we have a different day off to a lot of clubs and we train at different times because we are training footballers to prepare for the time they are expected to be at their desk.
“I know as a player that some afternoons you’d go home and spend the afternoons on your X-Box for four hours. Players will go home to sleep from 2pm to 4pm and then we are saying that for one day a week we need you to be explosive at that time.
“If you are in the habit of sleeping at that time or going shopping with your missus, or knitting or sewing, we are saying at 3pm of an afternoon we need you at full throttle, so we are trying that this season and tweaking the day off and finding it very beneficial.
“We are just looking for that extra one per cent as they all make a difference. The one percents that we’ve managed to find along the way, good and bad, they have made a difference to us. As much as we can keep improving and having the edge on our opponents, we will do.”
Murray added: “Depending on the game schedule, we give lads extra rest on certain days in the morning as sleep is a massive part of recovery. On certain days we train high-intensity, some days are double sessions. But we are keen on getting the rest in the mornings – especially the boys who’ve got kids.
“If they’ve had a bad night and they are only getting four or five hours sleep, the extra couple of hours you may be able to nick from 7am to 9am makes all the difference.
“Little things like that we tweak. Hours of sleep are monitored so we know where everyone is at. If you’ve had three hours sleep you’re not going to be at your best, and we need to be aware of that.
“I wouldn’t say we’ve been lucky on injuries as we have planned things to limit risk. We maximise rest and recovery.”
Training later also cuts the risk of players being late, through no fault of their own, often due to problems in rush hour traffic.
“In the olden days I’ve had managers that say you’ve had since 3pm yesterday to get here, that’s brilliant,” said Murray.
“But if you’re asking players - right you’ve got an hour’s journey but you’ve got to leave three hours before because of the traffic, it defeats the object of their recovery and their rest.
“So if people are sitting in cars in traffic for two hours, they get here and we are expecting them to do pre-hab and then training and it’s not professional. So by delaying training a little bit it allows that bit of extra recovery and when they get here they are not flustered.
“Their mindset is not all over the place. They are focused on training and most importantly they are in good physical position.”
On the change of day off, Murray said: “As a player I was always aware that on a Thursday if I did too much I still felt a little bit in my legs on a Saturday.
“Doing Tuesday/Wednesday enables us to double-session and work very hard, knowing that on a Thursday they can put their feet up and recover, then Friday it’s short and sharp. It’s working for us. “It’s my opinion, other managers won’t agree with it, but that’s the beauty of the game.”