College – Issue 31

Uplifting sport at College

Developing the health and well-being of College athletes while reducing the number of sports injuries is the aim of a new initiative at College this year.

Will Sams and co-coach Ross Kennedy are running a strength and conditioning programme and currently work with between 150 to 200 boys from a range of sporting codes. “There has been a growing awareness in sport about the dangers of adolescents over-training or undertaking training programmes that are not appropriate for their level of development,’’ Will says. “Sometimes, while looking to train athletes to give repeated good performances, coaches can make the mistake of looking first at the development of metabolic or cardiovascular system and less at the strengthening and movement efficiency that got them there in the first place. “We want to make sure all boys in our programme have age appropriate development and are training at the correct level. It’s about having an overall increase in strength across the whole body and producing a strong base to prevent injury.’’

he runs are not necessarily just about ensuring teams win.

“Winning is a bonus, but it’s not the ultimate goal. I have a vision that, when they leave College at Year 13, boys will be well-equipped to be able to train themselves appropriately and without supervision. I want them to have the awareness and knowledge to look after their bodies and avoid damaging injuries.’’ It’s a long day for former triathlete and endurance professional Will who is employed in a permanent position as part of the Sports Department. His day begins at 6am with his classes running before and after school and at lunchtime. He says boys from all codes appreciate what is being done for them and most turn up regularly and see the benefit in their games. Alongside the strength and conditioning programme runs a rehabilitation programme with a physiotherapist set up for any boy with a sports injury.

working to ensure the injury does not recur. The injured boys come twice a week for two or three weeks and undergo graduated rehabilitation. We make sure they don’t go back to play until they are fully recovered and we find that nearly all boys go back fitter and stronger than they were before. “Another bonus for me is that, this year, we have seen a significant reduction in injuries across all sports – a real reward for what we’ve been doing.’’

“The aim is to get the boy back into his sport as quickly as possible, while

However, Will says the programmes


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