David Joyce's blog: Football and Olympic training

David JoyceHi everyone!

Once again, I’m writing this week’s piece on a plane. I’m just heading back from Shanghai where Coach Rett Larson and myself presented to almost 300 coaches, athletes, team leaders, strength coaches and physiotherapists. It was an all-day seminar that was very well received. A couple of coaches even came up and introduced themselves to me and said that they were Peak Performance readers so it was great to meet them and to see that my humble little weekly ramble is read in places that I would never have expected!

I was only in the city for less than 24 hours but our hotel was right next to their magnificent football stadium. Shanghai is the city where Nicolas Anelka has become playing head coach and, it appears that after a decade or so in the doldrums, Chinese football is undergoing somewhat of a resurgence. Certainly, there is blanket coverage of the English Premier League over here and this week’s Champions League Final between Anelka’s old team Chelsea and Bayern Munich is much bigger news than I would have expected.


"Taking into account internationals and friendlies, players on both teams will have played in excess of 70 matches this season. All players will be both physically and mentally jaded."

Having worked with teams entering cup finals in the past, I think I can predict what will have been going on in the respective camps this past week. Both teams will have been working as hard as possible to ensure that the players are as rested as possible going into the match. The managers of both teams will be aiming to get their players as confident as possible so I doubt that new and complicated drills will be part of the programme.

Both the Bundesliga and the English Premier League are particularly tough competitions. The style of play in both leagues is robust and the seasons are long. Taking into account internationals and friendlies, players on both teams will have played in excess of 70 matches this season. All players will be both physically and mentally jaded.

Bayern, having been heavily influenced over the years by the philosophies of my mate Darcy Norman from Athlete’ Performance, will have been doing plenty of soft tissue work with trigger point balls and foam rollers to ensure that the contractile elements of the players are in as good condition as possible. These little things can maintain soft tissue quality, which, in turn, will aid in the recovery and regeneration process.

Training will be light and limited primarily to set pieces, formations and tactics, not to mention practice of penalties. The last time Chelsea were in a European final, they lost out to Manchester united on spot kicks and it is a fair bet that they have been working to avoid a repeat performance this time around.

It’s the last club game of the year for these boys, but, for many of the them, there cannot quite yet be dreams of lying on a beach given that that many of them will be involved in the European Championships in June and July. There’s still plenty of goals left in this football season!

Til next week,

Stay robust, amigos!



David Joyce
Sports Medicine and Performance Consultant for Team China leading up to the London Olympics. Holds Masters degrees in both Sports Physiotherapy and Exercise Science and lectures on the MSc in Sports Physio course at the University of Bath and on the MSc in S+C at Edith Cowan University.

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