TRANSITIONING FROM CLUB TO NATIONAL TEAM; CHALLENGES & SUGGESTIONS FOR PLAYER HEALTH & PERFORMANCE
Transitioning from club to national team (and back)
The transition from club to national team is an ongoing challenge for medical and science staff (referred to herein as ‘performance staff’) from both club and national team settings, to protect player health and optimise performance. The typical football calendar year includes several international periods where players can be called-up by their national teams to compete in training camps and matches, including friendlies, competitive qualifiers and/ or major international tournaments. During the competitive club seasons for both men’s and women’s senior top-level football, there are usually four to five international periods with around two to four matches over approximately 10 days. Coinciding with most leagues off- seasons, there are also major international tournaments that rotate every couple of years, lasting up to approximately six weeks (e.g. FIFA World Cup UEFA European Championships, CONMEBOL Copa America, AFC Asia Cup, CAF African Cup of Nations and CONCACAF Gold Cup). These interruptions can require all or some of the following: short or extensive travel, exposure to different climatic conditions (cold, heat, altitude etc), unfamiliar environments and support (hotels, facilities, nutrition), varying types of training schedules and structures, increased match volume and demands with players potentially playing in different positions and in new team dynamics.