Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac has a lot of theories and ideas about how to ensure his team is performing at its peak, while also maintaining its focus. From drinking room-temperature water to strict punctuality guidelines, Kovac likes to implement measures to maintain discipline.
Given the experience of last season, Kovac has altered some of his team rules, which gives the players more freedom in some areas, but is more strict in others. Specifically, Kovac is changing the following rules per Bild (as captured by the Münchner Merkur):
- Kovac has lowered his ban on mobile phones and even shown some flexibility. Bayern Munich players will also be able to access social media in the training room and weight room areas, which reportedly a big hit with the players (Pics of Robert Lewandowski going full-STORMTANK in the weight room are no doubt incoming).
- Kovac will now require players to be at the training facility 90 minutes before a practice as opposed to his old standard of 60 minutes.
Why did some of this come about? It seems that Kovac’s battles with Real Madrid player and former Bayern Munich midfielder James Rodriguez regarding timeliness led the 47-year-old coach to assess his policies and determine that he needed to give the players less chance of causing an issue. Hence, the earlier the players arrive before practice, the less possibility there is of a player arriving late or causing a disruption with tardiness by the time a practice actually starts.
James allegedly had persistent issues with punctuality, so Kovac has upped the time that players need to be at the facility from 60 minutes to 90 minutes to effectively create less distractions. While this be a sacrifice for some players, it should be beneficial for a team that could use the extra time for preparation as it faces a daunting season-long schedule of Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, and Champions League fixtures.
Interestingly, Bayern also tried some monitoring measures to try and keep the players fresh during the International Champions Cup in the United States. Recognizing the importance of the team’s marketing agenda, team manager Kathleen Krüger monitored how late the players came back after supporting the team’s marketing events seemingly in an effort to help determine how much rest the players would need before starting the next day’s activities.
There was no indication that Kovac was going to go as far as former Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly did with sleep monitoring tactics, but it was another example of how much Kovac believe in mental and physical discipline.
In the end though, Kovac just seems to realize that he needed to give the players a little more freedom with their phones to get a little focus when it comes to their preparation for training sessions.