Creating the right atmosphere
Mainz trained for close to two hours on Tuesday afternoon in Grassau: head coach Schwarz and team pursue other goals in addition to drills
While it rained heavily in part of Northern Bavaria over the weekend, Mainz have enjoyed nothing but sunshine since arriving at the Golf Resort Achental in Grassau on Monday afternoon. However, despite being a nice perk, the weather is only secondary to training camp. These days, the team is seeking to “Create an environment where everyone feels welcome and can perform to their best,” head coach Sandro Schwarz said on Tuesday. The first few hours of training near the Austrian border all pointed to the Zerofivers taking this goal to heart early on in their start to pre-season.
Sunshine and smiling faces in a picturesque alpine setting: the good mood amidst the coaching staff and team was already visible on the way to the training ground. A mood that quickly shifted to complete focus as training got underway with a nearly two-hour long session on Tuesday afternoon. It was an intense session, as the players are all looking to showcase their best in order to secure their spot in the starting XI.
Under the eyes of new head of fitness Sven Herzog and fitness coach Jonas Grünewald, the players completed a sprint course featuring various drills targeting speed off the mark, proper running technique and gait, as well as quick changes in direction. In the end, two teams faced off in a race, with sit-ups being doled out to the losers. The competition motivated the players and included some friendly trash-talk and a celebration from the winning team. “This was a competition, not some silly running drill,” the head coach said afterwards. “Obviously, it’s beneficial if it also leads to a good atmosphere within the team, since it is about winning. This was the result of focusing on speed and intensity, and it’s really positive to see the lads like this. No one likes to lose.”
A test against Vallecano
The same was true during a scrimmage at the end of the session, where the coaches pitted two teams against each other on a shortened pitch. The result: high intensity, tackles and quick decision-making in tight quarters. The team will be looking to take what they practiced onto the pitch for their first friendly during training camp at the Silberstadt Arena in Schwaz, Austria. Mainz will face Spanish side Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday afternoon at 17:00 CEST (the full match will be live-streamed on 05er.tv).
Preparations for the first pre-season test have long been underway for the coaching staff. “We have watched a few friendlies featuring Rayo,” said Schwarz. “The assistant coaches and our video analyst have prepared certain scenarios. Given that they are a Spanish side, we are expecting them to be technical and to have a strong formation. We will be under more pressure than previously. At the same time, we want to implement what we have been practicing and to continue to improve our deep play under pressure. We trained for nearly two hours today so the boys will definitely be feeling it tomorrow and will have to overcome this challenge.”