No beach bums

DEAN MCNULTY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 1:23 PM ET

Toronto FC coach John Carver is willing to try anything to get his team a Major League Soccer road win, and if that means sending his players to the beach for a day, by golly, that's what he'll do.

So yesterday he had his group of 18 roster players taking in the sunshine on the shores of Lake Ontario, playing a little beach volleyball and maybe having a hotdog or two for lunch.

The second-year team has a clean sheet at home (5-0-3) but is miserable on the road (1-4-0) this season. For that reason Carver decided on a different approach for Saturday's game in Foxboro, Mass., against the league-leading New England Revolution.

"Sometimes you have to look at different things," he said. "When I was coaching in England I've had the lads out playing paintball and 10-pin bowling. And we have such a lovely facility (Lake Ontario) right here, I thought I'd take the entire team to the beach for a day."

Carver said that while there are occasions in practice when hammering the players may work to a coach's advantage, there are other times when a pat on the back or a bit of relaxation gets a better result.

He also reminded the media that July -- with TFC playing eight games in five weeks -- will physically tax the team to the limit.

"If you keep going hammer and tongs -- you have to remember we've got a huge month coming up -- we've got to make sure the players are in the right frame of mind physically and mentally," Carver said.

He insisted one day at the beach certainly won't ruin their fitness regimen under strength and conditioning coach Paul Winsper.

"They'll get a little exercise, play a little volleyball and have a bite to eat afterward," Carver said.

"We'll look at anything to try to get a result on the road. This might be one of the things that will kick-start our away form."

A side benefit for TFC's coaching staff is that they, too, get to interact with the players in an informal setting.

"You can find out a lot about your players when you get a chance to sit back and watch them in these situations," Carver said.

'IT'S ABOUT THE GROUP'

He said that with such a heavy schedule on the horizon he'll have to use all 18 roster players at some point during that stretch, so it's important to include all 18 in team activities.

"That is why I've stressed from day one that it's about the group and not just the 11 starters," Carver said.

"I'm quite sure that with the amount of football we are going to play that we are going to get some slight knocks, like people going over on their ankles or getting suspensions."

TFC will hold practice again tomorrow before flying to Boston Friday afternoon for Saturday's match.


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