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Andreas Kornmayer on the Challenges of Fitness During Isolation

The head of fitness and conditioning for Liverpool discusses the challenges faced by himself and the players during this coronavirus shutdown.

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Liverpool FC v CR Flamengo - FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019 Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

If there’s one thing, one amazing thing that we’ll all have when we get out of this, it’s the unifying fact that this coronavirus lock down affects us all. Now, it doesn’t affect us all equally. I’d much rather be in a WhatsApp group with Jurgen Klopp, for instance, but we are where we are.

If you’re Andreas Kornmayer, Liverpool’s head of fitness and conditioning, your job is especially tough. I mean, tough for someone who gets to hang out with Kloppo and Liverpool players all day. But the actual “doing your job” part would be tough.

In an extensive interview with the club’s official website, Kornmayer opened up about some of the challenges of training remotely.

“We have created bigger groups and little groups so everyone is involved and then we get all the information from the players,” Kornmayer said. “We have group sessions and individual plans which, for example, can be about running, or pre-training or strength.

“We have our video calls, which you have seen, where we have sessions and then we have little calls in between, group calls like I have with Virgil, Joe and Robbo for example.

“Everybody from my team has a certain amount of players which they are responsible for and then our team have several meetings during the week where we update each other, and we are in contact with emails, texts, video calls and normal phone calls every day anyway about everything that is happening and what we can adjust and our planning.

“The whole situation in this country at the moment is changing so much so we need to adapt – adapt to the latest science results for example – our planning. It’s quite a big demand, I would say, [because] for me, it’s easier to talk to somebody in person rather than on the phone like we are doing now.”

Of course, the problem for Kornmayer isn’t just one of being physically distant. So much of his job is defined by the regular cycle of the seasons, preparing during the preseason, and recovery and training between matches during the season. As we saw with the three week gap between the last match and the Champions League final last year, it is difficult to prepare a squad outside of this regular cycle.

“We don’t know yet when that will be so we are planning more or less from day to day, from week to week, from two weeks to two weeks, from four weeks to four weeks, so we have both the smaller picture and the bigger picture in our heads,” Kornmayer continued. “That’s kind of difficult, to be honest.

“I think what changed a little bit in our mindset, especially in our department, through the last few years is that we are not so much science and data based, we are more ‘hands-on’ based.

“So that means if we have exercises to do we need to do them with the players, we need to show them and to guide them, and I think that’s the biggest challenge that we have right now: that we can’t really physically interact with the players.”

Kornmayer is just one of many backroom staff changes Klopp has made during his tenure. Considering the way this squad has been managed from a fitness and training perspective, it’s fair to say that Kornmayer has proven his value many times over.

Let’s all hope he, and the rest of us, can get back to “business as usual” sooner rather than later.