*This story was apart of the 2015 Hastings Tribune Fall Sports Issue. It was published on August 27th.
With fall camp fast approaching teams across the country are gearing up for the regular season in hopes of winning both games and trophies. Preseason schedules – which are often associated with warm weather, longer training sessions, minimal time for rest and an increased risk for injury – can have a hangover effect that can last far into the regular season. This is something the Hastings College Men’s Soccer team hopes to avoid this season.
“I would call it ‘mid-season blues’,” Head Coach Chris Kranjc said. “We would look at it and wonder why we get to the middle of the season and we’re just tired, dragging and forced to find our second wind. We found that our training ratios were just off.”
In years past those training ratios, which can be traced back to the early days of August during fall camp, have left the Broncos exhausted and beaten up all before the first regular season game. This culmination of negative side effects forced the HC Men’s Soccer program to examine the old ways of training and discover new ones.
“I was fortunate enough to have the South Heartland District Health Department to not only help with college athletes and the community, but also have the ability to study for three days under John Underwood,” Kranjc said. “Immediately after that I was in Los Angeles for a week and had the opportunity to listen to John Kona, a Soccer Science Specialist for U.S. Soccer. We were looking at different graphs and asking questions, and that’s what sparked that.”
That spark spurned the Broncos to rethink their old training tendencies, which made players exhausted by the first game, says Kranjc.
“In the past, we would come into a preseason and go extremely hard for two weeks,” he said. “You need those two weeks, but by the first game the guys are excited but they were tired. We want excited and fresh players coming into that first game.”
Players returning to fall camp can expect a different atmosphere, but some of the same elements of previous camps – such as teambuilding and chemistry.
“There’s going to be a different scenery. We’ve done a lot of studying in terms of team and sports science. Players coming in will see a much different scenery,” Kranjc said. “We’re going to do more teambuilding. There will be changes in our team chemistry stuff and changes in how we train. “
While players can anticipate changes to training and fall camp, the expectations are the same – to be mentally and physical prepared for the start of the season.
“The guys will see a different scene, but the expectation is still going to be that we have to train at a high level and get this right. We play one of the most competitive schedules in the country,” Kranjc said. “We have to be prepared tactically, physically and chemistry-wise against Ashland.”