FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Clyde Simms returned to practice on Tuesday morning feeling fresher than he ever has at the end of a season, and he knows why.
Simms was closely monitored throughout the 2012 campaign as the Revs took every precaution not to overwork the 30-year-old midfielder in training. If his body told him he needed to rest, he was given a day off. If the Revs were in the midst of a hectic stretch of matches, his training reps were limited. The daily grind of training wasn’t a necessity so long as he was good to go on game day.
“In D.C., there was a lot of pressure to train every day and I think especially with my age and as many games as we play during the season, that’s not ideal,” said Simms, who spent the previous seven seasons with D.C. United. “I think I had a better understanding with the coaches here that what was most important was to find that right balance during the week to make sure that I was 100 percent going into every game. I think that’s been huge for me.”
The approach worked to near perfection as Simms made 29 appearances – all starts – to fall just one short of his career high in that category. As for his performances, Simms was critical as the Revolution’s workhorse in the middle of the field, shouldering a heavy dose of responsibilities on both sides of the ball.
In part, it was that extensive workload on game days which necessitated Simms’ unique training schedule, while it was the central midfielder’s veteran understanding which ultimately made the arrangement work.
“Clyde knows what it takes to play, Clyde knows his body and he knows what he needs to do during the week,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “We work with him on that and we want to get him on the (training) field working with the guys at the right times, when we’re doing tactical (work) and game planning.
“But at the same time, if we can manage his body in concert with how he thinks it needs to be managed, then the better. Because then when he steps on the field, he’s ready to go.”
Heaps noted that a limited training schedule only makes sense in special situations, but added that as long as Simms continues to perform the way he did throughout 2012, the Revs will continue to work with him on managing his workload.
“It’s not a precedent we want to set with other players,” Heaps said of cutting training time. “Clyde’s a little bit of a unique situation because he knows his body so well and then when he steps on the field, he outworks and outruns most everybody. So his fitness level, as long as he keeps that to where he’s able to perform in the game the way he does, we can manage it.”