‘Adverse challenges’ – Stoke City’s training regime revealed amid fixture uncertainty


Stoke City’s head of sports science Jared Roberts-Smith has revealed how the players are keeping their fitness levels up during the coronavirus suspension.

The Potters’ season is currently postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the season not due to resume until April 30, at the earliest.

However, it remains highly unlikely that Stoke will return to action by the end of this month, with football authorities currently plotting what to do next.

Roberts-Smith has been with Stoke since the summer after accompanying Nathan Jones from Luton Town, and has remained with the Potters following Michael O’Neill appointment in November.

City’s head of sports science has discussed what the players will be doing to keep up their fitness levels during this period of uncertainty.

“The club has invested and ensured each player has been sent a gym package with equipment for home sessions, alongside nutrition and supplement boxes with all the necessary products to get them through this period,” Roberts-Smith told the club website.

He added: “In addition, each player has been sent a stat sports GPS unit and polar heart rate unit so that we can remotely track the physical work they complete in isolation at home via an online application.

“We have carefully planned the sessions as a department to ensure the players are getting the fitness and conditioning work they would get across a normal training week.

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“Their sessions aim to include much of the work that was discussed within the training week such as:

“Intensive elements – short sprints, explosive accelerations and decelerations.

“Extensive elements – volume and distance runs as well as supplementary aspects such as high speed running, max velocity and multi directional speed components.

“We are then able to analyse their work and make comparisons amongst the squad and ensure we are completing work in line with a normal training week.

“This should ensure the players are maintaining their physical conditioning and strength levels.

“We want to ensure our players are working and getting the contact as close as possible to a normal training week despite the adverse challenges that are being presented.

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“This takes a lot of work and time but is exactly what needs to be done to make sure they stay as close as possible to the condition when we left with regards to training exposure and match preparation.

“We are in constant contact and have provided an around-the-clock contact line so players can ask questions for help with their health and safety as well as remote training sessions.

“Joe Dixon, our club sports psychologist, has also provided the necessary handouts for our players with regards to motivation, resilience, leadership and anxiety during this tough and unprecedented time.

“Despite the constantly adapting plans and guidelines, as a coaching staff we have been proactive with meeting regularly, as well as having rolling plans that can be finalised at any point to ensure we are as organised as possible for when the players arrive back in training.”





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