It’s not often you get to take a behind the scenes look at a rising footballer’s life. That’s why we at Footy Prophet were ecstatic to speak to draft prospect Mitch Podhajski, vice-captain at the Calder Cannons, about a typical (or not so typical) week for him. Mitch is currently studying Podiatry at LaTrobe University.
“On Monday, I’ve got a class at 10am at LaTrobe. That’s a drive of about half an hour, so I give myself plenty of time. That goes from 10 to 12, then I have a 2 hour break. I’ve then got a class from 2-4.” Mondays are a night off training for Mitch, as he’s working 1 of his 2 jobs.
I asked him about how he balances university, work and footy, and whether he struggled with it, and he said it came naturally to him. “It’s not really a struggle, because although I’m busy, there’s always time to do my university work and footy. On a Tuesday morning I’ll have nothing, on a Friday I’ll have nothing, so I’ll leave my university work till then. I’ll also find time to do gym around that.”
As previously mentioned, Mitch has the morning off on Tuesdays, so is able to complete university work then. “Absolutely nothing all day, so usually catch up on university work, or watch a game of basketball in the morning that’s on TV.” Mitch goes for New York “because when I went to New York, they were the team I watched, so I got the short end of the stick there.”
He also played basketball up until the age of 15, before he had to put it aside for footy. “I still miss playing basketball every now and then. I was playing basketball on the Saturday and footy on the Sunday, and I made the decision to stop because I was getting a bit older, and it was starting to catch up with me. When you’re a kid you can get away with playing 2 games a week, but I was starting to get sore and it was starting to affect the way I was playing footy.”
“A typical Wednesday would be starting class at 10am (though I’m on university holidays now). Depending on my timetable, I’ll have a 3 hour lecture from 2-5pm, but this isn’t every week. If it doesn’t run, I’ll get a gym session in, then start work at about 6pm, and finish about 10pm.”
“Thursday is an early start at work, about 8.30am. We do deliveries of the kegs of beer, wines and spirits. That’s from 8.30-1 or 2pm, but it’s not flat out. If we’re waiting for deliveries we’ll clean, and if we’re not cleaning we’ll chuck the basketball or ice hockey on. The people I work with are all good people, so it doesn’t feel that full on.”
“After that I’ll head home and try and get an hour’s sleep, because I’m knackered after then. Cannons footy training starts at 5, but I usually try to get there early to work on whatever I need to. The coaching staff are all out on the track early, and are happy to work through anything really. We usually finish training about 6.30-7, then we have selection. I’ll have an ice bath, and take my time getting upstairs, have some dinner, and hear the team for the weekend. “
“I don’t usually do anything on Friday, I have nothing planned. I have an online lecture that I usually watch from about 12-2, but apart from that I catch up on some work and relax all day. Depending on when my game is, say I have a game at 2pm Saturday, I’ll be able to work a 6pm-12am shift. Because I’m part-time, I’ve got to work 2 shifts, so I usually work the 6 to midnight if I’ve got a later game on Saturday/Sunday, or work Saturday/Sunday night if I have the game on a Friday night.”
I asked Mitch whether he has any pre-game routines, but he isn’t a fan. “I don’t believe in superstitions, I think they’re nothing but a hindrance to your game day preparation. I used to get into my superstitions a little bit, but every time you don’t do something you usually do, you’re in a bad mindset and think you’re going to have a bad game. The only thing I do consistently before a game is have a chicken sandwich made by my mum, but that’s not superstition, it’s because she makes a good sandwich.”
“We’re supposed to be at the ground about an hour and a half before the game, but I’ll usually wander in about two hours beforehand to give myself plenty of time. I don’t want to be rushed on the day of the game, or feeling stressed.”
“I’ll do nothing the night after a game, so if we’ve played the game I’ll go home and watch the footy or something (Mitch goes for Essendon). I’ll have a lot of pizza, or a lot of carbs really. Absolutely criminal if you get anything else. Meatlovers should be compulsory.”
“On the Sunday morning, I’ll wake up and drive to Jack Bytel’s house. I play with him at Cannons, and I’ll pick him up. Every week after the game we go to Williamstown beach. That was something we started doing during the practice matches, and we’ve just continued to do it every week. It’s pretty good, we don’t usually dwell on the game before, we have a laugh, and it’s a light-hearted morning, which is good. We’ll stay in the water for 20-25 minutes. We’ll keep doing it into the winter, because I’m not going to stop, and if he does I’ll just call him soft. He’s too stubborn to give in and admit he’s cold.”
By Ben Madden|@benmaddentweets