During my early years as a physiotherapist at Walsall FC soft tissue injuries and in particular hamstring injuries were common place and re-injury rates were alarmingly high. A study by Sherry & Best (2004) highlighted the benefit of a rehabilitation program consisting of Progressive Agility and Trunk Stabilisation (PATS) exercises over a standard program emphasising isolated hamstring stretching and strengthening, The findings seemed to reinforce and support my own theory that poor neuromuscular control around the pelvis, especially in a fatigued state held significance as a possible causative factor to an initial injury.
Over several years I began to introduce single leg stabilisation exercises into group and individual prehabilitation sessions and added a high speed multiplane component to simulate sport specific movement patterns. With the help of a Masters Degree and supported by in house research I designed and integrated several injury prevention strategies throughout the club and as a consequence our yearly audit of injuries started to show a significant reduction in soft tissue and joint sprain injury.
Anatomy Trains and the Integrative Approach
I continued to study and train the body as a WHOLE and I was intrigued by the work by Thomas Myers on Anatomy Trains and the role and function of myofascial force transmission, The concept added substance to my training ideas and philosophy and I gained qualifications in acupuncture and soft tissue mobilisation techniques to support my evidence. Their is growing support in the literature which reinforces my thoughts and I acknowledge the work by Frans Bosch on the Specificity between strength exercises and athletic movement. Sport specific strength training and the dynamic systems theory proposed by Frans, added momentum to my training methodology and it was clear that an integrated and coordinated approach has huge potential for the future athlete.
The FAST ZONE
My signature training concept has proven to develop an athlete who is physically and mentally robust and resilient. 15 years in development has produced a concept that integrates advances in sports science with the practicality of the modern game. All FAST ZONE preps (not warm ups) involve functional strength exercises and technical drills which target and challenge the athlete both from a physical and mental view point. Based on individual force - velocity profiles training can be tailored to be both sport and position specific and culminates in a more intelligent athlete who thinks and moves with greater efficiency and with enhanced performance levels.
The body and it's complex systems and functions have evolved to be incredibly dynamic and adaptable to change. Exposure to the correct stimuli can produce a self organised and multi purpose response to internal and external demands. The FAST ZONE concept maximises motor sensory input and targets all the energy systems and training principles associated with traditional and modern training methods. Innovative but practical in its design the aim is to prepare the athlete for any future changes to the game and to provide a clear and understandable link between sports science and coaching.