Klinsmann wants better fitness 

December, 7, 2011

When you get a chance to speak with Jurgen Klinsmann, as we did last month, it's not a mere interview but a wave of conversation. We'll ride the Californian's wave one last time, following on our first two installments, here and here.

On tap for today are some on-field issues that we think will loom large throughout Klinsmann's tenure -- notably, his approach to practice. And it wouldn't be a Klinsmann interview without some of his 30,000 feet overview of things, particularly his view that the success or failure of his tenure rests on the players.

First up is an issue we've been watching: How will players deal with Klinsmann's insistence on double sessions and having all of his top players at every U.S. camp? Coming back to the U.S. from the middle of European club seasons for grueling training camps wears on players. Plus, days at Camp Klinsmann are longer and filled with more out-of-practice activities than under previous coaches. One example? On the last trip, players toured the Chateau de Versailles and learned about the French Revolution.

In an earlier post, we used part of a Klinsmann answer to our question about whether two-a-days might burn out players. His opinion: "There's no such thing as burning out," adding that soccer players are "pampered."

But the rest of the answer is worth a look, too:

KLINSMANN: We want them to know, How far is my limit? And obviously quite a few of our players are not used to double sessions. In the international game, it's just a no-brainer. That's what good teams do in the world. That's what Barcelona and Real Madrid and all these teams do. So I want them to get used to it -- doing twice the training sessions, and being tired. I think it's important for players to see all the ways they can actually push it further and further and further. In soccer we are nothing compared to some individual sports like triathlon … If you're going to do Iron Man, then I'd say you're risking burning out. It's not happening in soccer."

INSIDER: At what point in your career did you get used to that intensity level?

Luke Cyphers is a former senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.