Youth Team Physiotherapist Tom Walsh, and Sports Scientist Jamie Hesketh have updated us on what has been a successful first half of the 2016/17 season, from an injury and fitness updates to Christmas preparation for the young Shakers.
Jamie, what’s been done this half of the season? What’s been the training routine?
We began the start of the season by screening the lads. They did a number of different tests to outline their strengths and weaknesses which we have helped them improve on.
They also got given their own individual prehab programmes that they do every morning for 15 minutes before they go out for training, and they are not allowed to attend training until they have completed their prehab.
The training week is also tailored to suit the lads. If the lads have played on a Saturday, we will do a nice light training session on Monday, maybe a few boxes and some recovery in the morning. Our high intensity day is normally on a Tuesday, followed by a day off on a Wednesday, as the lads attend college. On a Thursday and a Friday, training gets toned down; we walk through shape and tactics ready for a game on a Saturday. Sunday is a day of rest for the lads.
Also on the free week that we had in November, we used it as an opportunity to change where the lads were training. We took a trip out to Blackpool to do some sprint work on the sand dunes, and also visited Box Rooms, a boxing gym in Whitefield for the lads to take part in some fitness circuits.
Tom, Dion is currently out with a stress fracture in his back. How did this happen? How long is he out? What is the recovery process to get him back fit?
Yes, he’s currently out with a stress fracture in his back. He had gone in for a tackle, and gone over backwards landing awkwardly on the opposition. We sent him for an MRI scan which had showed the stress fracture, he then had a further CT scan which confirmed it. This stress fracture has occurred because Dion has been growing, and when you grow, the discs in your back become weak, and if it gets hit in the right way in the right place, it can cause damage, hence the stress fracture.
For now, he needs to sit out for an 8 week period and have total rest, and that is the recovery process at the minute. He can’t really be doing anything which is a bit awkward and frustrating for him. After the rest period, he will get another CT scan to see if the bone has healed, which hopefully it will, and we can get him back in, and building up his exercises.
Dion has been really upset recently over this injury and the amount of time he has had out. How do you keep him motivated, how do you keep his mental attitude positive?
We try and keep him involved with the group as much as we can; however, these circumstances are a little different as Dion needs to be at home getting total rest. We don’t really want him walking around; don’t want him driving because it will put stress on him. We’re just trying to keep him in and out of the group and get him at games. Although, when being injured watching your fellow team mates play, it can be just as frustrating for him that he isn’t playing as well. He’ll be looked after in the long run, he’s a good lad, and he works hard. He still has about 20 games left when he comes back, so it’s not a bad time that he has done it. As by the time Christmas is over and you start back up, he’ll be 4 weeks into his rest period. Also, with it not being a muscle strain, he won’t have to build back up strength, we can work with him on his running to increase his fitness and he should be back into the regular training.
Jamie, as you know, the Christmas break is approaching and some of the Youth Team lads who live in digs have got two weeks off. How do you make sure that they’re looking after them-selves? Keeping their fitness up?
We weigh the lads before they go home for the Christmas break. Obviously the lads have done testing at the beginning of the season and throughout the year so we have an accurate weight for them which are monitored. When they come back from their 2 weeks off, they will be weighed again before the first training session to have a look at their body competition and body fats and see how much they have fluctuated.
They have a Christmas programme to follow which contains different exercises for them to do. They will have cardio days, days of high intensity sprinting and then others which will be a moderate session with a lot of core work and a few upper / lower body gym sessions. Hopefully the lads will complete the programme and watch their diet, I will be sending them home with diet sheets and ask them to fill them in, but they can cheat on them and therefore they might not be entirely truthful, but I do trust the lads, and hopefully they will keep themselves in good shape. They have performed really well over this half of the season; the lads should know and take pride in keeping themselves in good shape as we have some big games coming up in January.
The lads who live local, do they have to come in? What do they have to do?
Digs lads will go home, because they don’t really get much time to go home at weekend with them having a game on a Saturday. Local lads, the majority of them will come in, they will be in and around first team, so they will be used for first team sessions and 11 v 11. If they’re performing well, they will probably partake in all of the first team sessions.
The Youth Team staff will be in around the training centre to take the lads out training who haven’t been selected to go with first team. These lads will do their own individual sessions with the help of a youth team member of staff. This will be their ‘PIPS’ (personal improvement plans), so they can go out and work on their own strengths and weaknesses. I’ll be around to help them with their programmes, as they all have their own individual gym sessions and strength and conditioning programmes set, so that they’re making good use of their time whilst they are in over the Christmas period.
Not just about the lads looking after themselves physically in the holiday break. How do you monitor their diet?
It’s hard, because you can’t make a lad send a picture of every single thing that they eat, but, we do trust them. They’re all in very good shape at the moment, they eat in the canteen with Lisa every day, they have been educated throughout the season of the food that they need to eat and the foods that they’re allowed to eat and when they should be eating them, so that they keep their body fats to a minimum. Like I said, we will be sending diet sheets home for them to fill in, but you can’t 100% guarantee that they‘re going to be correct.
When they return in the New Year, how do you get them up to match fitness again?
We have got around 11 days from when the lads return, to their first fixture of 2017. We can use this time to bed them in, we won’t go too hard, as we know they will have a few down days whilst they’re off.
We will build their training up to cover a few moderate/ high intensity sessions which will include small sided games, which will help prepare them for their first fixture. Also, we will get them back into the gym, covering a few upper body hypertrophy sessions, high volume high reps which will help flush out all the badness that they may have accumulated over the Christmas break. However, during this, we need to allow the lads enough recovery days in-between to avoid lads pulling injuries so they can get up and go again.
Bury FC Youth are now third in the Youth Alliance League with 24 points, 6 points off Walsall who currently take the lead. The Youth Team's first fixture in the New Year is on Saturday 14th January 2016, at Carrington, Kick Off, 11am against Blackpool.
From all the Bury FC Youth staff, we wish all our fans a Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year!