New Head of Sports Science talks to htafc.com
Town’s new Head of Sports Science Al Stewart can’t wait to start working with the squad when it returns for pre-season training on 3 July 2014.
Stewart is part of the new-look backroom staff appointed by Mark Robins this summer (click HERE
for more information) and will soon embark upon his first Huddersfield Town pre-season period at PPG Canalside.
Before moving to ‘The Yorkshire Club’, Al previously worked at Manchester City and as Head of Strength and Conditioning at Premier League Hull City – but he was convinced to join the Terriers after speaking to people at the Club.
“I spoke with Mark about the role, the responsibilities involved and his thoughts on how the Club will work moving forward. It was clear that there is ambition here and I decided to join. This is an opportunity for me to come into a Club with big aspirations moving forward; there is no ‘stand still’ attitude from the people here and that’s important for us all to work together to move the team forwards,” Al told htafc.com.
“I’ve worked alongside Steve Eyre before at Manchester City and I like his approach. That was also the case with the Manager when I spoke to him.
“The stability of the Club, particularly at Board level, was a positive too. Everyone I’ve spoken to about Huddersfield Town had good things to say about the Club and the people here.
“You can see the progress of the Club by looking at the training ground, which is important. We had a training ground shared by both the First Team and Academy at Manchester City and I think that works to your advantage – it sharpens the youngsters’ minds in terms of where they need to get to.”
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Stewart will be a key figure on the training pitches during the important pre-season period and he gave the Club’s official website an insight into his role, which is working closely with the Manager and technical staff to tailor an optimal training programme in terms of fitness and conditioning work, supported by new Head of Strength and Conditioning Dan Hughes.
Al will also ensure that analysis tools such as GPS and Heart Rate Monitors are utilised to their maximum effect.
He explained: “Training has to be specific to the individual; it shouldn’t simply be tailored to the whole team or a specific position, such as midfield for instance. We have to maximise the full physical potential of our players as individuals, because that should hopefully lead to an improvement in their performance and results of the team.
“There’s a mixture of pitch and gym work, with the focus ranging from strength to range and quality of movement; you have to combine everything to see a physical and technical improvement in the players. If everything ties together, your players can improve their fitness, speed, power, agility and performance.
“People talk about the extra percentages in football – and rightly so. It is a critical part of our plan and approach. An extra one percent can easily effect 30 or 40 situations in a game; for example, getting your toe onto the ball to put it in the net or getting there to block a shot. Those one percents affect results and, ultimately, the outcome of the season.
“The coaching staff has met as a group and I think the way we will work – the Manager and the technical staff – will bring all those things together.
“I can’t wait to get started! I’ve been here for a few weeks now and we’re ready to get stuck into the hard work with the players.”