Joe Mattock talks to www.themillers.co.uk...
There are many positive connotations and benefits that come as a result of a good lifestyle and living healthily day-to-day.
Whether it’s feeling that little bit sharper at work, finding that motivation to go a mile further on an evening run, or even just your all-round persona being a bit cheerier throughout the course of a day.
Nobody is enjoying these benefits amongst others more than Rotherham United defender Joe Mattock, who attributes his ability to have featured in every single game up until his suspension picked up with a 10th booking in the game at QPR, to ‘knowing his body’.
The experienced full back has been a standout performer for Paul Warne’s side in the Sky Bet Championship this season and recently explained how consistency off the pitch, is key to similar results on it.
At 28-years-old, Mattock is by no means beyond his footballing sell-by date, but the Leicester-born defender took time to explain that he has placed even more emphasis on taking care of himself as he career progresses.
“The secret is knowing your body I suppose. Getting to know yourself as a player as you get older. I know I'm not particularly old for a footballer but in terms of coming towards the peak of your career, you need to look after yourself as much as you can,” he revealed.
“I said to myself at the start of the season that my aim was to play every single game this season if I could.
“When I was younger, I just went out and played football and did things more instinctively, which is a good trait in some ways but then you find yourself being injured for a third of the season, or I did anyway.
“Nowadays, it's about being a bit more professional and making sure that if I have got a little bit of a problem, like I have recently, then I tell the physios and they look after me. If it takes a couple of days of not training just to get right, get some cryotherapy, do some extra stretching or get a bit of treatment to mean that I'm back fit for the game at the weekend then I will.”
Mattock’s determination to holistically care for his well-being fits right in with boss Paul Warne’s mantra at the club and it is the Millers chief’s influence which has seen a number of professionals, including a sleep therapist, utilised in an attempt to help his players beyond improving on the training pitch.
“It's all good work, anything you can get to help you a bit and give you that edge obviously helps,” he continued.
“He comes in and does a lot of talks and tells you a lot of things that you didn't know before, so you're learning every time he comes in.
“That's another aspect of taking care of yourself. You learn what sort of sleeper you are; you get some people that are morning larks and others that like to go to bed late at night and wake up later. The more you can figure yourself out as a person, the more you can help yourself in the games and training.
“Recovery-wise I've been making a lot of visits to the Cryo-chamber which is a machine that goes to -196 degrees.
“I've been there more often, I've eaten well with a good diet, I've got a lot of good sleep and I've just generally looked after myself and made sure I've given myself the best possible chance for training and the games."
The proof is in the pudding, or indeed lack of it, for the left back who has arguably enjoyed his best season to date with the Millers, where Mattock can feasibly stay his long-term future should it be required at AESSEAL New York Stadium.
“I think it's more about taking yourself a bit more seriously,” he continued.
“As a professional, people look up to you. Fans and kids see you as a local idol and it's about living up to those expectations. You have to realise that.
“You have to set the bar. I've set that standard now, especially in the past couple of years and I've got to make sure that I perform at 7 or 8 out of 10 every week.
“I've been here for four seasons now and I'm more than happy to stay at Rotherham.
“I'm sure we'll have talks about that over the coming months, but for now, I've just got to keep my head down, play games and try and pick up some results.”