Football clubs and academics working towards the same goal

The vital role sports science and medicine play in what happens on the football pitch is in the spotlight in an interactive event at Teesside University.

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Middlesbrough Football Club has teamed up with the University to offer a hands-on approach at an event looking at what is involved in ensuring footballers’ physical performance is at its peak.

Football players, academics, sports scientists and medics will share their experiences with speakers from Middlesbrough Football Club, AFC Ajax, Derby County Football Club, The Football Association, Liverpool Football Club, Liverpool John Moores University and Teesside University.

Interactive sessions will include cloud based training apps and use of training data, with discussion topics ranging from training programmes and tackling hamstring injuries, to the total football approach at AFC Ajax in Amsterdam.

Middlesbrough Football Club player Jonathan Woodgate said: 'Sports science and how training is analysed these days has moved on massively during my career. When I first started playing we only had fitness coaches. But these fitness coaches now have GPS and other pieces of technology and have much more information available to them to help staff plan training, keep us fit and ultimately in peak condition to perform.'

The aim of the event, which has wide-ranging interest for professional sports coaches and physiotherapists to ‘grassroots’ club coaches, is to explore ways of thinking to help improve the effectiveness of football training.

Matt Portas, Principal Lecturer in Sports & Exercise at Teesside University, said: 'The event has very much a hands-on approach with the opportunity to use the data and apps discussed at the event, while also offering the opportunity to learn something new and share best practice.

'Sport scientists are inundated with technology and techniques to provide recommendations for optimal physical development, but the process of turning findings into practice, and vice versa, is complex. It is a team effort.

'There are times when something is known to work in practice, but it is difficult to turn into scientific evidence and formally share as good practice. The main aim of this event is to make the whole process simpler and more accessible.'

This one-day event, Using and creating scientific knowledge to improve physical performance in football, is at Teesside University’s Darlington campus on Thursday 10 September, from 9.00am to 5.00pm.

Middlesbrough Football Club sports scientist Jonathan Madden, who is among event speakers, said: 'We are really excited to have this opportunity to develop a relationship with the University to enhance theory and practice as it is important for us to keep up with academic research.'

Teesside University Professor of Sport and Exercise Iain Spears, said: 'It can be a challenge for football clubs to shift through the wealth of research information available to find something which works for them. The aim is to help to bridge that gap by working together.

'This event will be of interest to everyone interested in football, from professional sports scientists and coaches to local team coaches working with semi-professional teams or at grassroots.'

Contact 01642 342346 or email

25 August 2015

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