A professional sports coach working with Port Vale striker JJ Hooper says the intention is to return the player to Vale “fit, strong and most importantly fresh.”
The South London Press has revealed that coach Matt Burton, who runs a company called Zero Ten Performance is working with Hooper and a number of other professional footballers.
We want them to return to their club fit, strong and most importantly fresh. They can’t be beaten up…
Burton, a former athlete, has a sports science degree and he told the newspaper about his work with the players commenting: “All of our sessions are geared to work around a club – because they are the priority,” he said. “We want them to return to their club fit, strong and most importantly fresh. They can’t be beaten up.
“I’ve seen guys work with footballers over the Summer who almost abuse them with very heavy workloads. We want them to go back in top form and be beneficial for the club. I don’t want them to be overtrained. If they have a heavy schedule I would rather not see them rather than force a session. Sometimes it might be that their knee has flared up and I want to get a second opinion.
“We have a physio who screens all of the players before we start training them. Club physios are very busy with lots or pros. It is good to get a second opinion. My physio is from a world-class track and field background. It’s all about optimising movement, whether there is tightness in an area there shouldn’t be or any sort of risks to be causing potential injuries.
“All the boys are in five days a week and they have a therapy massage once a week. There are supplements that are all legal – WADA certified – and we have a guy who does meal drops twice a week to make sure they’re eating well.
They are all ambitious and hungry. They understand hard work breeds success…
“It’s about making sure no stone is left unturned. I can also talk from a psychological aspect. I’ve got their back. They are all ambitious and hungry. They understand hard work breeds success. They are 20-22 and this is a big time for them. It is a breakthrough period.”
The players all fill out questionnaires at the start of a day about how well they slept, fluid taken on board and what they ate – a total of seven questions with gradings. If a player drops under a certain score, it means being even more closely monitored and potentially closing down a session for that individual.
“You can do the same thing season after season after season…or change up a little bit and make smart choices,” said Burton.
“A club will set an off-season programme and we will integrate some of that to make sure we are ticking the boxes for them and their fitness is where it should be. But the one-to-one attention is not always there from clubs because of how many lads they have on their books. If someone has a weak ankle we will do stuff to minimise the risk.”