Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

As the Jets' hectic schedule heats up, we look into the preparations that take place behind the scenes to get the team on the pitch in peak condition.

With the Newcastle Jets amidst a European style task of three games in six days, work is being carried out behind the scenes to ensure each player takes to the field fit, fresh and firing.

Jets- High Performance Manager, Paul Nancarrow, is one of the men charged with the duty of measuring, then monitoring individuals within the team collective, to help guarantee Head Coach Branko Culina fields his best side possible.

Among the key indicators that Nancarrow looks for when Newcastle-s schedule is so demanding is fluid loss, and finding the quickest way to rehydrate each player.

“We have to make sure we do the right things immediately after the game,” Nancarrow told NewcastleJets.com.au. “They all get weighed after the game so they know much they-ve got to drink, they have ice baths and then they have protein shakes.”

While some players tend to replace lost fluid quicker than others, Nancarrow says differing schedules often mean individual players have to have their recovery regime tailored to ensure they return to the peak of their powers pronto.

Nancarrow suggests Jets captain Matt Thompson is one player who will be examined closer than most, due to both hindsight and the fact the Qantas Socceroo spent last week in the humid heat of the Middle East on National Team duty.

“[Thompson] lost a fair bit of weight when we played in 42 degree heat earlier in the season,” Nancarrow said. “He is probably going to lose a bit more [fluid] because he-s been away as well.”

However, fluid loss is not Nancarrow-s only concern, and the likeable and knowledgeable backroom staff member notes pre-match meals are also critical factor in the Jets- match preparations.

“We have a set menu everywhere we go, because we don-t want to introduce anything new that-s going to be a shock to the [players-] system,” Nancarrow said. “We take a lot of food with us, so we eat chicken, steak, we have some plain pasta with some sauce and generally mash potato, salad and bread.”

“We eat a continental style breakfast together at the hotel, so they-ve got bacon, eggs, sausages, stuff they-d normally eat at home.”

While Nancarrow has been a crucial member of the Jets- staff since he joined the club some three years ago, he also departs his wisdom on the Chinese Taipei National Track and Field Team in their preparations for key events.

While the dual roles keep Nancarrow busy, he believes it-s the Jets- players who prefer their current schedule of more games, more often.

“It-s a bit like being in England really,” Nancarrow said. “We have a game, a day off, recover, train, and play. It-s good because they get to play instead of train.”

The Newcastle Jets take on Gold Coast United tonight at Skilled Park, and Brisbane Roar on Saturday at Suncorp Stadium.