The Futsal Thai League is arguably the biggest futsal league in Asia, from the quality, the viewership and the coverage. Match streams get in excess of a quarter of a million views across multiple platforms and pre-covid, home stadiums would be packed to the rafters with fans and supporters. The league is a healthy mix of Asian International players, foreign import players primarily from Brazil and the next generation of stars. Players train 3 times a day, 5 to 6 days a week and are paid professionals.
Imagine being the youngest Head Coach in the history of the league, at only 29 years old? Imagine having to prepare against one of, if not the biggest club in Asia after only being thust into the role in your second week. We get a valuable glimpse into Samut Sakhons Head Coach, Hassan Khodahbandehloo's days leading up to the game against Chonburi Futsal Club.
12.00AM I'm still awake with alot of planning to do. Spend the time watching, reviewing, analysing the team's past 4 games. We've managed 6 points from my first 2 games but there's still alot to work on.
3.00AM Start working through solutions and opportunities for my team. Make notes about what I need to work on and before I know it, it's Subuh prayer and I spend another night with no sleep.
6.00AM Aside from recently taking up the role at Samut Sakhon, I still have to continue my duties as the Program Director and Head Coach for the Thailand National Sports University futsal team. The university leagues are close to professional set ups in thailand and the kids on the team train every morning and evening meaning I have to juggle multiple sessions across both teams.
9.00AM I use this time to prepare for our evening training session for our match with Chonburi tomorrow. This is the most crucial session for the team and one of the the last times I can communicate the game plan to the players. I get a quick breakfast from 7/11 to fill my stomach and manage to finalise the squad selection for the game.
1.00PM Get on a call with Ruz about AKU. We talk about the new stock that's arrived in Thailand and the plans for the photoshoot for the AKU athletes next week. Let him know things are progressing well here and end up talking about how lockdown is in Melbourne and hopefully the borders open up soon for a visit.
4.00PM Samut Sakhon training session with the players and I feel pretty happy with the session. There's been a real lift in the mood amongst the playing group.
7.00PM Finally time for a proper meal and I have my usual portion of steamed chicken rice and another portion of fried chicken rice. It's enough for the day but I head back to 7/11 to get my snacks and drinks to keep me going through another long sleepless night.
8.00PM It's important to have some down time and the I spend a few hours catching up on personal emails, working through my planner and reviewing my daily goals. Mindfulness is extremely important to me and making sure that im thankful to god for the day and for life allows me to be appreciative for what I have.
10.00PM I spend the most of my night rewatching videos of the past few Chonburi games. They sit at th top of the table with 11 wins and 1 loss but I set and finalize the teams plans and strategy for the match. I get so caught up in the detail that I always end up taking way more time than I expect it to and finish up at 2.30AM before my body shuts down and I fall asleep in front of my computer screen.
SATURDAY - GAME DAY
6:30AM I wake up to a flurry of missed calls from our goalkeeper Jump'er and him and the other players who lived nearby are waiting in front of my apartment for a lift to the stadium. Jump into the shower and rush to get ready.
7:30AM We pick our Brazilian imports Wendell (AKU Athlete) and Rica and head straight for a nearby drive through for a light breakfast before heading to the stadium and I spend some time explaining the plans and startegies for the match to those in my car.
9:00AM I make my way to the dressing room first. There's an awesome silence when the dressing room is empty before I game. I take the moment in, like I do every game and start to write the plans and strategies of the game on the white board. As the players make their way in I start to pay attention to the individual mental and psychological state of each of the players.
10:00AM The full team now arrives in the dressing room and I pull both the captain and vice captain aside and brief them in detail over every element and strategy that I need community. The language barrier is an issue they are able to effectively communicate my main objectives to the individuals to understand the plan. As the players get massages and change into their warm up kits, I try to find the best possible time for a team talk but feel it would be best after the warm up when their concentration level is at high today. I explain the importance of warming up and to set the attitude as I stay behind in the changing room as the team head out warm up. I have enough trust in my captain to see the warm up through.
10:45AM The team changes into their match kits and I give a simple and short 10 minutle team speech. It's effective... I think.
2:00PM The game is over but I am proud of the teams overall performance. We had a poor start being 2-0 down at half time before a good half time team talk brought the game back to 2-2, before a goal in the last minute saw us lose the game at the final whilst. Its a good performance against the top team but we pick ourselves up and move on to the next game.