Case Study – Performance as a Science: The German National Team

While his teammates at Inter Milan, Tottenham Hotspur and Monaco drove Porsches and BMWs, Klinsmann tooled around in a blue ’67 Volkswagen Beetle with a Snoopy sticker on the dashboard. Instead of living in Germany, where he’s as celebrated as Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods in the United States, he settled in California, where his wife grew up. And when he got the itch to play some pick-up games a few years back, he hooked up with a developmental league team in southern California.
So it should have come as no surprise that when he was hired two years ago to coach Germany, Klinsmann wasn’t going to do things the old way.
That’s from the AP story about Klinsmann you can read here >>
What’s fascinating is the American fitness connection.
Klinsmann hired Mark Verstegen’s group to get the German team into shape.
Here’s their story:
As a part of the coaching staff for the German National team, Athletes’ Performance founder and President Mark Verstegen and coaches Shad Forsythe and Craig Friedman have been responsible for player testing and evaluation, and have worked closely with each player on programs that address the specific fitness needs of each individual athlete.
In the build-up to Germany’s first game on June 9, the AP staff has taken the lead role in developing physical, technical and tactical programs for the training camps surrounding Germany’s training camps. When the team assembled in Sardinia in mid-May for the first stage of its final World Cup training camp, the AP team was there to facilitate the physical preparation and team-building activities. All of the training was done on the soccer field, focusing on speed, strength, power, conditioning and recovery work.
After a week in Sardinia, the German training base moved to Geneva, where a satellite Athletes’ Performance Institute had been created to serve the needs of the team. The facility was completely equipped with the strength, power, conditioning and recovery equipment that is found in Athletes’ Performance facilities in the United States, including PowerPlates and Keiser functional trainers. Working in conjunction with the team’s doctors and physio the AP coaches continued the strength training programs for the German players, as well as specific corrective activation and mobilization exercises.
As the final friendly matches started, the physical preparation has shifted to emphasize recovery, helping the players remain fresh and ready for competition. For the players who are not playing, the staff is still emphasizing physical training to ensure they do not lose their fitness levels and are ready to play when called on as a substitute.
The Athletes’ Performance/German National Team relationship began with Juergen Klinsmann. Klinsmann served as consultant to the LA Galaxy back in ’03. Athletes’ Performance is the Official Performance Training provider to the Galaxy. Juergen became familiar with the success and methodologies of the Athletes’ Performance Team and brought them on board to support the German National Team when he was appointed coach.
On the US side, John O’Brien, Landon Donovan, Chris Albright and Todd Dunivant are all Verstegen’s customers.
Check out Mark Verstegen’s blog.
Here are some nutrition tips, for those of you who (like me) aren’t going to play competitive soccer.

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