Helena Ciak’s World Cup postcard (ep. 3): match day

On this World Cup, the French team plays at very different times, which sometimes changes our routine during the day. But overall, in selection as in club, the organization around the matches is rather the same.

Before going to the room

If I take the example of our game against Mali, with a meeting at 2:30 p.m., there is no obligation in the morning, except for the video session – there is always a video session – at 10:00 a.m. Beyond that, it’s free. Personally, as I wake up around eight o’clock, it’s breakfast and I’m going to walk for a muscle awakening (always this story of not staying too long in my room). Some players are able to sleep in, wake up for lunch and move on. If the match takes place later in the evening, a shooting session, with final adjustments, is always offered.

During the warm-up

Everything is a la carte. On this World Cup, we arrive 1h30 before kick-off. Once in the locker room, everyone has their own preference. Some, like Alexia (Chartereau), like to take thirty minutes of direct shots – she does that in the club too – others stay in the locker room and do muscle awakening, with rubber bands, rollers and the like. Match information is displayed on sheets. I like to take the time to read what the coaches have noted, the game plan. We also write little words of encouragement.

Everyone has their own way of getting ready a few minutes before a match kicks off.  (J. Bacot)

Everyone has their own way of getting ready a few minutes before a match kicks off. (J. Bacot)

For my part, I start my “warm-up” at the edge of the field with a rubber band, to activate the body. It’s not muscle building, but it gets me going. Only then do I take a ball and shoot.

There are few girls with helmets. Music is a good way to put yourself in your bubble when you need it. There, between us we talk, we laugh, we sleep, it’s nice. Even Marine Johannès, who stays with us, gets involved in the moment and it really gives a good atmosphere. On the other hand, we must admit that in the Superdome, the DJ is not very efficient!

Helena Ciak in full preparation before the meeting.  (J. Bacot)

Helena Ciak in full preparation before the meeting. (J. Bacot)

After the coach’s chat, just before going on the field for the last part of the pre-match, we stay for a moment between players. The captain, Sarah (Michel) speaks, sometimes Alexia too, to motivate us, start our match between us. It’s essential.

After the game

In the locker room after the game, we often debrief while waiting for the coach and all the players to arrive. There is a little chat, and we go to the cold bath for those who need it. It’s great for recovery. In Sydney, on the other hand, we don’t take our shower in the locker room since the hotel is next door. This was not the case at the Tokyo Games where, given the travel time, it was worth taking it to the hall.

Lisa Berkani warming up.  (J. Bacot)

Lisa Berkani warming up. (J. Bacot)

Then, depending on the meal (7:30 p.m. after Mali for example), there are moments of free time. We often take the opportunity to call the family, relax, play cards. It’s also a way to recover knowing that we most often continue the next day. And of course, when possible, we watch the evening matches, which allows us to get information on the opponents. It can still be used !

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