Klinsmann scheduling morning training sessions for S. Korea to optimize efficiency
By Yoo Jee-ho
PAJU, South Korea, March 22 (Yonhap) -- Can the early bird really catch the worm?
Jurgen Klinsmann, new head coach of the South Korean men's national football team, certainly hopes so.
Klinsmann is running his first training camp with the Taegeuk Warriors this week, ahead of friendly matches against Colombia on Friday and Uruguay next Tuesday. While the German legend has inherited virtually the same squad from last year's FIFA World Cup, he has made one notable change.
Klinsmann has scheduled morning training sessions.
Under his predecessor, Paulo Bento, South Korean players mostly trained in the afternoon before international matches, be they friendlies, World Cup qualifiers or tournament matches. Morning sessions were few and far between.
Players of the first national team under Klinsmann were asked to report to the National Football Center (NFC) in Paju, about 30 kilometers northwest of Seoul, by 2 p.m. Monday. Their first session with the new coach began at 4 p.m.
Before Monday's session, Klinsmann had already announced the team would have a morning practice Tuesday and again Wednesday. The players had the Tuesday afternoon off. Then following the morning session Wednesday, the team traveled to Ulsan, a southeastern city some 305 km from Seoul, hosting the Colombia match Friday night.
When asked during his media scrum Monday why he had scheduled morning sessions, Klinsmann didn't give away too much.
"No particular reason. Just from a schedule perspective, we like to get work done early," Klinsmann said before adding with a smile, "Maybe that's a bit German (of me). We like to get work done early."
The coach later explained that training in the morning gives players some time in the afternoon to do extra work as they see fit.
"When I say today's training is in the afternoon, then you can only do one session," he went on. "So, I like to do the first one and if the first one covers it all, we're good. I can go for coffee in the afternoon. And if I would like to add a second session, then I tell the players we're going to go out another time."
Klinsmann has at least one supporter for his new training schedule, who also happens to be his captain, Son Heung-min.
"We had occasional morning sessions with coach Bento. I personally prefer to work out in the morning. So I have no complaints now," Son said Tuesday. "If I feel I need more rest, I can catch up on some sleep in the afternoon. And many other players here prefer to train in the morning, so I think it's a good thing we're out here in the early hours."
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