During the last period, the Reserve Division was working as an independent division at the disposal of the First Division team. Back then, the average age of the professional team players was high, and the players had played many important matches.
Marcelo Gallardo wants to lead the project with this idea in his mind: to work in depth so that, in the future, the professional team will be conformed mainly with players that come from the younger divisions. For that, from now on the Reserve, the Fourth and Fifth Divisions will work at River Camp, will practice daily with the First Division and will do the same as the professional team.
In 2016, with the arrival of Luis Villalba to the coaching staff, they continued to work with in the same way but there was much more communication with the coaching staff of the First Division. At the beginning of 2017, the work structure began to change and they formed the “Elite Group” team, conformed by the Reserve and the Fourth Division.
Regarding planning, they added a weekly double-shift incentive to their work. They started applying neuroscience and, under the supervision of the nutrition team, they added a lunch after training at River Camp.
The new Child and Youth Project began in January of 2018. A group of 94 people, which included 69 players, coaching staff and assistants, had its preseason at the Club San Jorge from Santa Fé.
Regarding its infrastructure, they added nutritionists and psychologists to optimize the development and performance of the players, so that they act as professionals from the early stages.
For that, Gallardo made some changes in the younger divisions. He brought Hernán Díaz, who will be the link between the professional team and the younger divisions, two coaches with experience in First Division, Guillermo Rivarola, who will coach the Sixth Division, and Gabriel Perrone, who will be in charge of the Seventh Division. Juanjo Borreli will coach the Fifth Division, and the other categories will have the following coaches: José Luis Vidal for Fourth Division, Jorge Gordillo for Eight Division, Javier Alonso for Ninth Division, and Alejandro Montenegro will be in charge of recruiting new talents.
From the organizational point, the Club wants to professionalize and optimize the resources the Club already has and to add some new ones in search of the players’ high performance. For that, all the training facilities, playing fields, locker rooms, facilities, personnel, transfers, logistics, nutrition, psychology, pedagogy, clothing, video-analysis and technology have been improved.
The Nutrition team has supervised the menu designed for the players during the preseason, all breakfasts, lunches, teas, dinners and snaks in general. In addition, all players from the three categories took the anthropometric tests. It was the first test of the year.
The sports psychology held different group and individual activities with the players during the preseason. There were talks about specific subjects, individual interviews, tests and activities in the playing field (fitlights and cognitive exercises). The players will continue to have all these activities during the year in groups and individually so that they can think about what they want and the resources that they have to achieve their goals.
Regarding this area, during the preseason all players that had minor discomforts or pains were treated. Most of the injuries were muscular and were taken care off with analgesics, muscle relaxants and kinesiology. The staff used established parameters and took new tests to prevent more injuries. They also did preventive exercises after training, which they are currently doing. As it is common in all preseasons and tournaments, there is a registry with all the injuries and pathologies so that, at the end of the season, there is a general injury statistics.