"Dealing with external factors abroad!"

Hello everybody!
In this new blog I will give an overview of the most important external factors we have to deal with in the Australian/New Zealand A-League.
A pre-season of 3,5 months, travelling, crossing time zones and changes in temperature & humidity are the biggest external factors we'll have to face. The league ends in April/May and the teams start their pre-season in June. The league starts in October, so they have more than 3 months to get ready!
We have to travel 13x to Australia this season and we will play 1 home game in Auckland. The shortest international flight is to Sydney (3,5h flight & 2 time zones back), the longest one is to Perth (7h flight & 5 time zones back).
Flight time Wellington to
✓ Sydney 3,5 hours (direct)
✓ Melbourne 4 hours (direct)
✓ Brisbane 4 hours (direct)
✓ Adelaide 7 hours (incl. stop-over)
✓ Perth 10 hours (incl. stop-over)
Time difference Wellington to
✓ Sydney -2h
✓ Melbourne -2h
✓ Brisbane -3h
✓ Adelaide -2,5h
✓ Perth -5h
Travelling is fatiguing and it slows down the recovery but you just can't change the fact that you have to travel for away games. So deal with it! You have to travel, that's a fact, there is a time difference, that's a second fact, so what is smart in general is that you train first and travel second. We always travel 1 or 2 days before the game. Always to Australia, always from East to West and we always return on the day after the game, from West to East.
Train in the morning and travel in the afternoon instead of the other way around! Training in the afternoon = more fatigue because you travelled. This season we'll have 14 away games, we'll be spending approximately 105 hours in a plane, flying around 55.000km & changing the clock 28x #externalfactors #facts
The temperature in Australia will be more than 30°C during summer and the relative humidity can be very high for some games. 
Wellington on the other hand, is the windiest city in the world. The temperature varies between 15 and 25°C during the entire year and the humidity will never be that high as in Australia.
Optimizing 'the way we travel', our biorhythm, nutrition, hydration and suppletion are a big part of my job this season and let me say .. it's a great challenge. Education is the key!
The last 10 years, I created a 'team behind the team, behind the team'. Experts all over the world advice me/the staff on dealing with external factors. Most important is that experts, who step in the football world, have a deep understanding of the game and speak football language instead of scientific language. 
Football always has to be the starting point.
As I already mentioned in one of my previous posts, all the external factors that we have to deal with in the Australian A-League are quite similar to those in Russia, where I've worked for 2,5 years. If you are interested in reading my interview about my stay in Russia (Krylia Sovetov Samara, 2014-2017) and how we optimized our performance and recovery, click on the link below:
closed down the airport, so we had to change everything. You can plan everything, but in the last-minute things can change. That’s also what’s difficult with ...
Today, we trained in the morning and hopped on the plane in the afternoon for a 3,5 hour flight and 30 min bus ride to Sydney. When we arrived at the hotel (we are staying at the Crowne Plaza Coogie hotel), we did a recovery session before having dinner.
Now up to tomorrow's game (Sunday 15 Oct) in and against Sydney FC at 7pm (it's 2 hours earlier in Sydney than in Wellington) and on Monday, we'll fly back to our hometown Wellington.


Finally: first league game of the new season! #WellingtonPhoenixFC



Finally: first league game of the new season!

Sunday 8 October at 5PM: Wellington Phoenix - Adelaide!


After 3,5 months of preseason, it’s finally season kick-off time! I’m really excited for the start of the new season with Wellington Phoenix in the Hyundai A-league. We’ll play our first game tomorrow, on Sunday 8 October at 5PM local time (6AM Belgian time) against Adelaide United. It’s the first of at least 27 games. The Hyundai A-league consists of 9 Australian teams and one from New-Zealand (Wellington Phoenix):


Adelaide United (AUS)

Brisbane Roar (AUS)

Central Coast Mariners (AUS)

Melbourne City (AUS)

Melbourne Victory (AUS)

Newcastle Jets (AUS)

Perth Glory (AUS)

Sydney FC (AUS)

Western Sydney Wanderers (AUS)

Wellington Phoenix (NZ)


All teams play three times against each other. Wellington Phoenix has 13 home games and 14 away games this season. The last game of the regular season is on April 14th 2018 against Melbourne City. The top 6 progress to the Finals Series, which is Wellington Phoenix’s main goal. The winner of the A-league Grand Final will be crowned A-League Champion.


Program of the Finals Series:


Let's do this!






As was announced last week, Wellington Phoenix is the new football club where I work as a Football Fitness coach in the staff of head coach Darije Kalezic.  I've signed a 1-year contract till the end of this season. Since I left Belgium in 2011, I have had a lot of opportunities to work in different countries and clubs. New-Zealand is the sixth country and Oceania is already the third continent that I’m working in. Time flies when you’re having fun and doing what you love!

Back in Wellington after a 9-day training camp in Australia!


We travelled to Australia on Saturday 9 September with a group of 24 players and 9 staff members. This training camp is an important part of our preparation for the upcoming season. Wellington Phoenix is the only professional football club in New-Zealand so we took this opportunity to play 3 friendly games against different Australian teams.

9 days, 3 cities, 3 opponents!                         

The first 3 days, we stayed in Coogee (New South Wales, Sydney) for a game against Blacktown City FC. We then travelled to Terrigal for the fixture against Central Coast Mariners and ended our training camp in Cessnock for a game against Newcastle Jets.