Jose Mourinho, Pianists and Football Players

Last week I delivered the first Creating Athletic Legacies workshop in Leicester and the team at Leicester City FC Academy were fantastic hosts. The workshop was really well recieved and I'm looking forward to taking it around the UK (Leeds, Blackburn, Cardiff, Sunderland and possibly Bournemouth).

Whilst I was at the training ground my attention was drawn to a qoute that has been linked to none other than Jose Mourinho, and given the topic of the workshop - Creating An Athletic Legacy - Youth Physical Development Strategies and particulalry some of the areas we cover in the workshop, I felt compelled to share his pearls of wisdom on physical preparation for football players! (I've actually added this to the presentation now so it will be there for all the delegates to see when they attend the remianing workshops in February).

One of my key take home messages from the workshop is that we need to get better at creating ATHLETES (specialist generalists) and not mini football, rugby, squash, tennis, cricket (the list goes on) PLAYERS that may have great technical and tactical skills at a young age but who are poorly prepared phsycially to cope with the demands of training and competition.

I agree that to be great at a sport you have to put in many hours of 'sport specific' training that will develop the technical, tactical and physical qualities needed to succeed, but it's naive (at best) to suggest that this is all you need to make it as a modern professional sportsperson.

It's dissapointing to see that in 2015 we are still seeing these inane qoutes when everything we are learning through evidence based practice and practice based evidence suggests the exact opposite.

Maybe the pianist doesn't need to do push ups or run around the piano - but the last time I looked, pianists don't need to accelerate, decelerate, change direction, complete repeated sprint efforts throughout a 90-minute game, hold defenders off, make high impact challenges and be robust enough to survive in the EPL, and make sure they can repeat that for 10-15 years.

Whilst it's frustrating to see this sort of comment still being banded around, I'm encouraged to see that there are many more enlightened coaches working in youth sport.