Sunday, 13 July 2014
TOP NOTCH FACILITIES TO BOLSTER TRAINING EXPERIENCE FOR LIONS
Top Notch Facilities to Bolster Training Experience for Lions
It is never easy to find an overseas training facility that provides everything a team needs. This was National Team coach Bernd Stange’s top reason for choosing Flachau, a small village of 2,836 people located in Salzburg, Austria, to be the training location for the National Team and the Under-23 squad.
While the highlands are mostly reputed for its snowy peaks in the winter that promise a great deal of skiing fun, summer sees a change of scene: the peaks are a lush green and the skiers have yet to hit the hostels run by the locals. Do not be fooled by the term ‘summer’ though, as the temperatures in Flachau seldom go above 20 degrees Celsius and the rains are harshly cold when coupled with the wind. These are the conditions that the players face when training twice daily in this charming environment.
Staying at the Hotel Alpenhof, however, the teams will find that most of their comforts are taken care of. Most importantly, the facilities allow for teams to always be ready for their matches and training sessions as dry rooms and indoor heated pools – amongst many other facilities – allow both the back room staff and players to acclimatise quickly to the environs.
“We needed a facility that would allow the players to train, and train hard, without having to worry about all the logistics like wet clothes, boots and staying warm. I have organised over 20 training camps here in Austria with various teams. This place provides some of the best facilities I have seen in my career and I am confident that the players will be taken care of, while my very capable back room staff will be able to quickly cater to their needs without much hassle,” said Bernd as he explained why Flachau was picked as the training facility for this training tour.
One of the facilities never seen before in Singapore is the heat room, or ‘dry’ room as the kit men have affectionately dubbed it. Essentially a room full of industrial-standard pipes that pump out hot air and have added nozzles to hang boots to dry, the heat generated from the room also allows for jerseys and equipment to be dried easily after the initial washing is done. What might usually take a few days to dry in this damp and chilly climate now takes just a few hours as hot air is continuously piped through the room.
“This is something we have never seen before in Singapore. It really makes our work a lot more efficient as compared to having to send everything out for laundering and hoping it comes back in time,” explained Omar Mohamed, the kit manager for the National Team.
“All I need to do is hang all the boots on these pipes and lay out the clothing on the tables, and they will all dry in no time. Very convenient,” he added as he demonstrated how it worked.
The Alpenhof boasts a world-class gym and an indoor pool, as well as a wide selection of protein- and carbohydrate-rich nourishment from the kitchen for the players before and after their gruelling training sessions. As if that were not enough, the hotel and nearby training facilities are set against a picturesque backdrop of mountains and freshwater streams.
“We will never get this back home. Singapore has its own beauty but this is something really different. It’s beautiful and the climate is excellent for training. I really thought I would have to train with damp clothing or boots but the heat room is amazing,” said national midfielder Shahril Ishak.
When these factors are all combined, it is evident that the facilities are not just a home away from home – they are even better than that.