Barnet FC's Head of Performance, Gary Anderson, penned some thoughts on the Club strategy in ensuring all players are in optimal physical condition during this period of Saturday-Tuesday match day's.
We have reviewed the process and protocol of how players are monitored throughout training and rehabilitation and introduced new systems, these will take time to get used to but we are seeing benefits already.
In the performance department we have Dimi as head physio who looks after all the clinical elements, arranges consultations, scans and interventions.
We have a network of doctors who not only cover match days they are also on hand to give a diagnosis, its a real multi-disciplinary team and an important member of that team is Ollie Galloway, he has come in to bridge the all-important gap from the “treatment room” to the “field of play” his job is to condition the players in readiness for and integration into full training.
Ollie also assists me in planning and conditioning of the whole squad, we have regular planning meetings to evaluate how this is progressing, when I first came in I set an objective of being “the best prepared physically we can be” improvements in this is now starting to show signs of real improvement in individuals from the data we record both in training and on match days.
The workload in the medical department has increased during the COVID pandemic, as well as ensuring as safe an environment as possible, we test the players twice a week and manage the results of this testing, Dimi coordinates this regular testing in a secure area really efficiently and ensures we meet the requirements and keep the players and staff safe.
We have introduced full conditioning programmes for players, we approach this on an individual basis, working with players on areas of their development that they have identified, be it speed, strength, endurance or acceleration. You will often see Ollie doing extra sessions with players on the training field.
I am really proud of the care we offer to players, we are so fortunate at Barnet to have the clinical diagnostic facilities on site and they are utilised appropriately by our staff. The gym and rehab facilities are as good as they can get at this level, many EFL clubs would love to have our facilities.
Our recovery strategies have been enhanced, something that is so important when we face the fixture schedules we are currently. Both Dimi and Ollie manage these facilities and monitor the players adaptation and manage the loading, this is something very new but already paying dividends with a reduction of the hours lost on the training pitch.
When I came in I stressed that what we were implementing was not a “quick fix” I wanted it to be a long term sustainable strategy, test there was some “low hanging fruit” but that was mainly organisational type areas and setting process in place. We are now onto the stages that will make a meaningful difference as we move forward.