Sheffield Wednesday

North American Academy

Sports Psychology

A typical day for our professional development players (U18-21) starts by collecting urine samples from the players so that their hydration status can be assessed prior to training. As well as this, subjective wellness scores are collected which allows us to monitor the players perceived level of fatigue that may be affected my muscle soreness or poor sleep quality from the previous day.  These measures give us a clear indication of the players readiness to train and mean we can reduce the training load for certain individuals if necessary. 

 

After the collection of this pre-training data the players will usually complete an injury prevention or gym session. Injury prevention sessions are individualised for each player and aim to improve biomechanical issues identified during movement screen assessments. This includes developing mobility and stability as well as strengthening areas which are common sites of injury for footballers. The gym sessions focus on improving the player’s functional strength, ensuring that there is a maximum transfer to performance on the pitch. To achieve this, strength and power is developed through multi-joint exercises that improve force production capabilities while also increasing postural control.

 

Prior to a football session a dynamic warm-up is completed that usually includes a mobility or speed and agility component. During the session live heart rate analysis is used to monitor the intensity of the session. This is particularly useful during fitness sessions as it provides instant objective feedback meaning there is no hiding place for the players. As well as this practical work an important part of the job is ensuring appropriate recovery strategies are implemented to increase performance and reduce fatigue.

 

In addition to this, a large emphasis is placed on educating the players on areas such as sports nutrition and psychology. A workshop focussing on a specific topic from these areas is delivered every 6 weeks. This provides a well-rounded learning environment for our academy players and ensures they are fully prepared for all the demands of professional football.

 

 

Chris Hattersley Academy Lead Sport Scientist said “It’s great to be part of such a progressive and forward thinking, multi-disciplinary department. We are always looking at implementing new practices and technologies to improve performance which ensures we stay at the forefront of the sports science industry.”