So what makes a 超级联赛 footballer?
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Jonpaul, Course Leader for BSc (Hons) Strength and Conditioning, said: “As more money has come into the professional game the pressure for teams to become successful has increased considerably.
"As a result, many teams have turned to sport science, medicine, and technology to improve their on-field performance, with the vast majority of professional football clubs now employing an inter-disciplinary support team.
“While even just a few years ago football was behind its counterparts in rugby in its use of sport science, they have all rapidly caught up now and every 超级联赛 team has a highly professional set-up.”
Jonpaul said this ‘team behind the team’ consists of performance analysts, physiologists, biomechanists, psychologists, nutritionists, physiotherapists and strength and conditioning coaches.
He said: “The eyes of fans may be on the likes of Harry Kane or Mohamed Salah but just think about the importance of that team behind team, and in particular the vital role the modern strength and conditioning coach plays.
“The aim of the strength and conditioning coach is to optimise physical performance, minimise the likelihood of injury and enhance player recovery between matches.
"Strength and conditioning is about more than lifting weights and encompasses the entire physical development of the modern footballer and what is needed to improve performance on the pitch.”
Jonpaul says this includes movement skill development, strength training, plyometrics, speed and agility training, energy system development work, recovery between training sessions and training programme design.
“A lot goes into ensuring players are optimally prepared physically to perform on the pitch,” added Jonpaul.
“So, fans going to games or watching on television, admiring the athleticism of the modern footballer, should just think about everything that goes into their performance. There’s more than meets the eye.”