Masterclass: Tim Cahill
The Socceroos legend and Melbourne City (as we go to press) marquee has defied age to shine on...
So what does an average day of training look like for you?
I always like to get to the training ground an hour or so before training begins. I’ll go and say hello to the staff and then get into my prehab and treatment for any injuries that I might be carrying. When everyone else has arrived, we will have our session together as a team. After that, we have lunch together and possibly a team gym session in the afternoon. At the end of the day I often get a massage to help with recovery.
Do you have a favourite part of your team training?
At the end of the day, I can’t go past a good finishing drill. I try and get as much shooting practice as possible to make sure that if an opportunity comes in a game, I’m as prepared as I can be. Crossing drills are really good for being able to judge the trajectory of the ball and finish from all sorts of different positions. If I feel like I need some extra practice, I’ll get one of the goalkeepers and wingers to stay back with me so that I can get some extra shooting in.
What is your routine on match day?
If we’re playing in the evening, I generally have a very relaxed morning. I sleep in, have breakfast with the family and then just chill through the morning. Then in the afternoon I’ll go in to the ground and get some treatment done. I’m not really superstitious but music is a really big part of my preparation. I’ll have music on for a lot of the day. I find that a chilled playlist gets me into the best mind frame to play.
How important is mental preparation before a game?
Mental preparation is really important. The mindset that I always try and stick with is ‘don’t get too high, don’t get too low’. Keeping your mind and emotions in check is really important, especially in big games where the pressure is on. The right mental preparation and mindset can have a really big influence on the result. The first big tackle or moment at the start of the game really sets the tone, so you need to have that controlled aggression.
Do you do ice baths or massage after a game?
Immediately after the game, we will have a warm down and stretch. Ice baths when they’re available as well. Recovery has become a much bigger focus than it was when I first started playing professionally. A good night’s sleep after the game is important but often pretty hard to achieve when your body is still running on adrenaline. We always have a recovery session the morning after the game which involves starting treatment on any injuries that we might have picked up and getting the body moving again. I get a lot of massage treatment through the week to make sure that my body is always good to go for each match.
What does your pre-match menu look like?
Most times I’ll have a light meal a few hours before I play. Probably some meat and veggies. No overly processed foods. Around that time, I’ll probably also have a protein drink called PB by Sanitarium. They sent me a few samples and I’m really loving it. It has a mix of fast and slow acting proteins which is ideal for me. I don’t eat much for the last couple of hours before playing so it’s usually just a lot of water to hydrate and maybe some sports drink for a bit of energy and elecrolytes.
What foods can you not live without?
For breakfast, I’ve been a Weetbix kid for pretty much my whole life. I add some different fruit to them each day to keep things interesting but I find it’s a great way to start the day. And it’s not a food, but I do love my coffee. I usually have one in the morning with brekky and another at the training ground. I’m usually pretty well rested already but sometimes it just gives me the extra kick that I need. The third would be anything that my mum cooks! She’s always been a great cook, she can do all sorts of traditional Samoan food as well as a crumbed chicken and mixed vegetables that I can never say no to.
How important is food to your training regime?
Nutrition is a massive part of being able to perform at your best. I’ve been lucky to have some great nutritionists at Melbourne City and with the Socceroos who have helped me tweak my diet to help maximise my body’s ability to recover after games and training through the week. Especially as I’m older than a lot of the other guys, it makes it even more important for me to keep my body in good shape so that I can still play at the same level.
What do you look for in a pair of football boots?
I look for a combination of comfort and protection. We train every day so feeling comfortable in my boots is definitely priority number one. I’ve also had some foot injuries over my career so feeling like my foot is protected in the boot is really important as well. I’ve been really happy with the most recent Visaros that New Balance have provided me.
Do you still own any boots from special games of your career?
I have to say that I have collected a lot more jerseys than boots. I have jerseys from a lot of the biggest games that I have played in my career. Probably the most memorable pair of boots that I still have with me are from the 2014 World Cup.
‘As I’m older than a lot of the other guys, it makes it even more important for me to keep my body in good shape’