Revealed: How Norwich City want to stay ahead of Championship rivals
- Credit: Archant
Marginal gains is the ethos for Daniel Farke and his coaching staff to turn Norwich City into Championship contenders.
City's playing squad now have a specially adapted 'chill out' room at Colney, created by Norwich-based commercial interior designers, Bluespace, which is all part of a sport science strategy to look after body and mind.
'It is brilliant. Bluespace have done an extraordinary job,' said head coach Daniel Farke. 'They are the specialists in this area.
'I might be the specialist on the pitch, but this creates a nice atmosphere for the lads to calm down between our training sessions.
'We want to them to work hard but they are also human beings.
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'They spend so many hours at the training ground, so this is a place for them to relax.
'We do a lot of double sessions and between the two sessions we don't want the lads off in the city or travelling elsewhere.
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'It also helps the togetherness.When the Australian Open tennis was on they were all here together watching the final points.
'The lads like to play computer games.
'It is not my generation but when Josh Murphy is beating James Maddison at Fifa and the other lads are joking and laughing it is good for the atmosphere. We don't just want them on their mobile phones.
'It doesn't mean we now go to the Premier League, instead of maybe League One, but it is that two or three per cent which can help. Those can be the determining factors in winning a game or not.'
City's head of sports science, Chris Domogalla, is responsible for getting the likes of Maddison and fit-again captain Ivo Pinto in working order.
'Sometimes I am the most hated guy here on the staff but since the summer they have adapted so well to our training philosophy,' he said.
'The players are brilliant and open-minded because they see the benefits of it.
'We want to build a resistance to the heavy load and sustain them towardsthe end of games.
'It needed some time to adapt. It is a different culture with training every day and sometimes double sessions.
'But they can now see they can run faster and longer and with those benefits they buy into it.
'We are thankful to Bluespace to create this room. Before it was a room that wasn't very inviting for the players.
'When they work hard they need a space for relaxation and recovery. Work and rest equal success for me. It is not just about the load on the training pitch, it is also the mental side.'
Domogalla followed Farke from Germany last summer and admitted there had been obstacles to overcome in adapting to a heavy workload in the Championship, and the lack of a winter break.
'For the players it was challenging in the beginning,' he said.
'During pre-season we lost a few lads because they had to adapt but the data shows during games in the peak periods they are far more resistant.
'I wouldn't say sport science is better in Germany than the UK, it is just a different path.
'It hasn't been a surprise to me. Maybe the games are a little bit more intense but that fits our philosophy. You have to get used to the midweek matches and playing through the winter.
'Perhaps in Germany we are a little bit lazy.
'But you know these factors in the pre-season so you can plan for them.'
Bluespace owner, Jonathon Simpkins, was keen to work with the Canaries.
'We haven't dealt with elite sporting clubs before so this is a first for us,' he said.
'It has been very enjoyable to see how things happen. We were asked to create a new comfortable, contemporary stylish players' lounge.
'They didn't want it to be corporate. The main challenge is to create an area that feels right and looks right and the players want to chill out.
'We are very involved in the local community and proud of what we do.
'I took a commercial view and thought it would be a great opportunity to get involved, to help me network a little bit more, meet some new people and promote my brand. Hopefully in the future maybe the football club can introduce me to other new companies.'