Modern-day football calls for clubs to examine every possible method to get their players back on the pitch as quickly and safely as possible.

With that in mind, Academy Head of Sport Medicine and Sport Science Tom Smith took four Development Squad players to David Lloyd Gidea Park to use the plunge pool and swimming pool.

There Rob Hall, Elliot Lee, Matthias Fanimo and Sebastian Lletget swapped their football boots for swimming trunks to aid their recovery and rehabilitation.


"We brought the lads down as they have had various injuries or tightness in their muscles from previous games to use the facilities to do some mobility work and rehabilitation exercises," Smith explained.

"The plunge pool is like an ice-cold bath with nice deep water, so the pressure and temperature of the water both have their therapeutic benefits. The exercises the lads did in there were to mobilise their hips, marching on the spot and cycling their legs. It basically pre-empted the session they did in the swimming pool on a larger scale.

"They began by walking in the pool, which was an extension of their hip mobility work - Matthias is recovering from a hamstring injury and Rob has had a recent groin operation and Elliot and Seb who both had hip-related musclar tightness. The leg session they did involved a few walking patterns that opened up the movement around their hips.

"Matthias and Rob then did swimming sessions in floatsuits as a bouyancy aid that allowed them to concentrate on the upper-body movements rather than staying afloat. It helps with the lads confidence if they not strong swimmers and also allows them to get more benefit from the exercises that they do."

Rob Hall

Rob Hall sports his floatsuit in the plunge pool

Hall said the players enjoyed the change of scenery of a visit to David Lloyd, as well the beneficial effects of spending time in the water.

"We used this visit as a rehab session, whereas we usually use the pool for recovery after games or hard training sessions," said the forward.

"We have to treat the David Lloyd professionally and like an extension of the training ground. We cannot mess around. It's nice to get out of the training ground and see something new."

As well as the visits made by the club's young professionals, Smith said West Ham's first-team squad were also regular attendees for pool sessions at David Lloyd.

"The first team are down regularly for rehab sessions or recovery sessions if we have a couple of games close together and they have a quick turn-around in between.

"The facilities we can use such as the pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room, as well as the spin bikes in the gym, give us lots of different facets to our recovery sessions.

"They really help us out at David Lloyd, with whom we've had a link for a few years now. They come and watch some of our games throughout the season and, in return, we get use of their outstanding facilities. It's been fantastic."

West Bromwich Albion