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Interview with Javi Miñano, physical trainer of the Spanish National Team

1. Can you describe what is a usual physical work session in the National Team? How long does it take to prepare? How do you organize that work?

The first thing to note is that it’s a national team, which is already an important filter, not a team. We also need to differentiate when it’s a short stay of three/seven days or a longer stay before an important event as a Euro championship, a Confederations Cup or a World Cup. Thus, when we have a short stay, in which we play two games in a week, there is no work of physical improvement; what we propound is that players who come from teams where play Wendesdey-Sunday (the most common are usually of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid or Barcelona) continue the work they do for their clubs while we control and supervise it.

When it comes a long competition, the most important thing is that we can put as close as we can to the real physical form of the players. They have been for many months competing at the highest level and thus we receive them in that form. We know it, and from there we take a decision to continue or extend the calendar. We don’t make a pre-season in those 10 or 15 days but we tried to adapt to new training and then propose the same stimuli of work they have done near the end of the season on their teams.


2- How can we prevent injuries with physical training?

The prevention of injury is from all areas. The main pillar of that prevention is, for us, to have consistency in training. This means that the proposal doesn’t clash with the training that players are used to do in their clubs. We don’t want to break too much with what they normally do, with our particularities of course. From there it start prevention work, enhancing individual work, with the objetive to be as close as we can to how the player is, through communication from all areas; for us it’s so important the information we receive both from clubs and players.


3. The physical condition of a player depends only on the work done or genetics, lifestyle,etc influences? What is the percentage of influence?

At the highest level there is a significant genetic factor, but even a player has a great talent, if he hasn’t got humility, modesty, work capacity, competitiveness and constancy he will never succeed, all of this is part of that work.

One of the main values to achieve football success is the learning of our coaches. That means our players have learned many values and have a good formation from the beginning of its training until today. This is important because players now come with their routine already established, and 15 years ago this was complicated.


4. Have you ever had a physical portent player?

Any player who can keep the physical form for nine months playing two games in a week is a portent player.


5. A player can get results only with excellent physical form or need to own a great technique too?

At the highest level there must be a 7 of 10 points on everything, but from there could be players with a 10 of 10 on motivation, mentality and competitiveness and 7 of 10 in physical form.


6. Why is there so much difference between the physical form of current and past players? Is it a clear example of the improvement in this field of football?

This confirms the coaches and physical trainers foramtion. This formation has not only made progress in tactical aspects but also in the physical form. There is now also much more specific physical preparation for what football player needs to compete.


7. What is the physical training that players prefer? And the least?

We have a group of players that only demands one thing, train well. In this particular case the players we have, by their nature, like more actions in which they can play all the time with the ball.

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