Friday, April 27, 2012

The role of sport scientist in a team

Today, I would like to share with you my experience in working in a high level football club, as is Panathinaikos FC. I have been in football for years initially as a freelance professional and in the past 5 years as the head of Panathinaikos FC Performance Lab. In the past years I worked with high performance players like Gilberto Silva, George Karagounis , Djibril Cisse, Seb Letto, Jean Allen Boumsong and others. I have also worked with great head coaches like Jesualdo Ferreira, Henk Ten Kate, Nioblias, Jose Peseiro and assistance coaches and fitness trainers (Jose Gomes , Xristof Vazexa, Lau Ebben, Stergios Fotopoulos, Pedro Cainhinxa & Jose Eduardo). The names are in chronological order and I apologize if I have forgot someone. It has been a wonderful experience for me.
All these years, I had the opportunity to interact with high level professionals. With some of them I have developed a friendly relationship. Gentlemen, thank you all for this fantastic experience!

What have I learned these years?
  • MUTUAL RESPECT. As a sports scientist I always respected the role limits. This helped me to establish a good relationship with coaching and medical staff. CLARITY OF ROLES is very important for high level performance. Don’t ask for respect. Receive it with your high work quality.
  • SHOW THE TEAM WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR THEM. This is very important to receive their respect!
  • AVOID CONFUSION. Each member of the team has a clear role and can express his/her opinion. Whatever he/she says must be based on his/her expertise. The head coach manages the team and makes final decisions.
  • HIERARCHY. This is set by the Club and is a good tool for everyday effective practice. When join the Club, you should fit to the role. Don’t try to change the role to fit your ambitions!
  • BE CLEAR IN YOUR COMMUNICATION. Coaches and players are not scientists. They might not know the specific terms. It is our job to help them understand. To do so
  • FOOTBALL IS A TEAM SPORT. Think, communicate, be open, flexible and team player.
  • WORK SMART. Our job is to assist coaches develop more effective training programs. Hard work is not necessarily the most effective way. Spend time to achieve the right mixture of science and practice. If you want to learn more please click on

Key messages
  • Build mutual respect
  • Follow the smart way
  • Be a team player

Hope you enjoyed the reading. The post is open to discussion. Please feel free to comment. Before doing that, may I ask you to introduce yourself?

Thank you and best regards

Friday, April 6, 2012

Effect of a structured warm up programme on injuries prevention

The effect of a revised programme on lower extremity injury rate was examined in 65 female clubs in Norway over one playing season (8 months). Sixty clubs served as the control group.

An expert group organized by FIFA with representatives from the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, the Santa Monica Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Research Foundation, and the FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Centre developed a warm up programme for injury prevention. The programme has 3 parts
  • Running exercises (about 8 minutes)
  • Strength, plyometrics and exercises for balance (about 10min)
  • Running exercises (about 2 minutes)

Exercises were adapted to the level of players and are shown below.

Source: FIFA website.

What we have learned from this study
  • In the group that received the injury prevention programme, a lower risk of injuries overall, overuse injuries and severe injuries was recorded in one playing season.
  • It is worth noting that the risk of injury was decreased by about 1/3 and the risk of severe injury by about 1/2 with this warm up programme.

Soligard et al (2008). Comprehensive warm-up programme to prevent injuries in young female footballers: cluster randomized controlled trial. BMJ 337:a2469.