Strudders Looks Ahead

Sports scientist Tony Strudwick is already looking ahead to the next campaign, with plans for the pre-season programme already in place.

Tony joined the club mid-season under Alan Pardew, but will now have the opportunity to apply his methods right from the off as opposed to adjusting routines in the middle of the campaign.

"A lot of what we do is based on flexibility and it is always quite dynamic, which is the way the manager wants to structure the sessions," he says of the training methods that have been put into place since he joined.

"Then we do some possession work and coaching - that is the normal structure of how we work at Chadwell Heath.

"We are always looking at new things to move it on and we have brought in a lot of weight work on the Tuesdays and Thursdays.

"It is about continuity, picking up what worked before, and taking it on."

A key area is to reduce injuries, of course, and Tony adds:

"Hopefully you will see the benefits of that long term; you can't eliminate contact injuries during a game but you can try and minimise non-contact injuries, muscle pulls, and so on."

Tony sees the science of sport, particularly in football, continuing to get more sophisticated, and adds:

"I think technology will always seek to evolve - whether it be legally or illegally.

"I saw a programme on television about modifying genetics and you are always looking for a 'stronger, higher, faster' type of mentality.

"You would imagine that the human body would plateau but world records are still being broken in the 100 metres and those methods have transferred into team sports.

"So players will certainly become quicker and stronger in the next 10 or 15 years."

The physical aspect of footballers is now more scrutinised than ever.

"Players are getting bigger in sport; if you track it over the last 30 years the average height of a player has increased by 3 centimetres per decade - and three kilogrammes per decade," explains Tony.

"You only have to look at other sports like tennis where they are 6'4" or 6'5" - that is how the game has evolved.

"Look at the Arsenal team where the average height is 6' or 6'1" and they have size and athleticism throughout."

So, if he could 'clone' the ideal West Ham player, who would it be?

"I would imagine probably a cross between a Marlon Harewood and a Michael Carrick - you would have size, speed, and finesse," smiles Tony.

"In their own way they are both quite smooth athletes."