With the Eurospital, (European Hospital Workers), football tournament taking place next month, we catch up with team captain Dr Chris Bosshardt, who reveals his top tips and advice on preparing for the competition.
Starting on Friday 26 August, this year the Eurospital football tournament takes place in Belgium. The players will take the Eurostar to Brussels where they will be met by the host team, who will then escort them to the hotel.
Team captain, Dr Chris Bosshardt says, “We'll meet the other teams, reconnect with old friends from previous competitions, and have a welcome dinner and a captains meeting to discuss the tournament. The tournament draw will then take place, and we'll find out our group stage opponents. We're hoping for a more favourable draw this year, having had some tough opening fixtures in recent years. Some teams will then have an early night in preparation for the big day of football, others will have a few drinks in the spirit of European bonding, and the remaining teams will have a lot of drinks, not to name any names!”
The group games will be played on Saturday morning, which Chris explains is a big day for the team: “All teams progress through to the second group stage which will define what position they finish in the competition. There is no group stage exit; you keep playing until someone is last! The group winners from the morning session will go on through to the semi-finals and the final to find out who will be the winner of Eurospital 2016.”
As the players live in different parts of the UK, we asked Chris how the doctors train for the tournament:
“We all live and work in different areas in the country, so our squad training together almost exclusively takes place on the Friday of Eurospital but we take care of our own fitness and play our own five-a-side games. A few of the doctors play together for a team in Brighton. All of our squad members played for the Nottingham University Medics FC (NUMFC), so we know each other's game.”
Chris has given us his top tips and advice on how to prepare for a sporting tournament.
“Our strength will be our fitness, as we're one of the younger teams in the competition. My top tip would be to arrive with a good baseline fitness level. I'll ask the England players to work on some interval training before the tournament, as seven-a-side football on half a pitch involves lots of short-burst sprinting. It's a long day with a lot of football – whether you finish first or sixteenth, you still have to play six to seven matches.”
Nutrition and hydration
“Keeping your energy level up is crucial, so good nutrition and hydration on the day are very important. My advice is that when you substitute off, you take in fluids and energy drinks. Carbohydrates in between games help with recovery, as well as giving you a boost for the next game or if you’re substituted on. We'll bring our own fruit, snacks and energy drinks so we're fully prepared for the day.”
“The games are very intense, which is why roll-on substitutions are key. Sometimes you need to match the opposition’s substitutes. For example, if they put a fresh player on, you need to match that move by putting fresh legs on to mark him, so you need to be tactical with your changes.
“We've got four debutants this year, three of whom are strong defenders. We'll have a solid defence and midfield platform to build on, allowing our front three to run at the opposition and counterattack. We will aim to break quickly, using the space of the pitch to attack, before the opposition can reorganise. The latter stages do sometimes go to penalties. We'll have a few practice shootouts the day before to make sure we're prepared.
“We will also travel out together. The more experienced squad members can help the debutants get used to the tactics of the seven-a-side tournament.”
“We've been fortunate enough to be fair play champions in previous tournaments. We play hard but we always play with a smile whether we win, lose or draw. We're aiming to go far in this year's competition, playing the way we always play. With the guys we have in this squad, we'll hopefully earn a fair play hat-trick.”
We will be sharing more information about the team in the coming weeks. Keep an eye out on our social media channels to keep up to date with the team’s progress.
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