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Sam's Blog - The Secret of a Successful Team

Posted by Hayden at 12:00am, Monday 1 March 2021

Over the course of the season we will be posting a number of blogs by Sam Donaldson a footballer, father and Physiotherapist at the clubs great sponsor RHP Physiotherapy


That’s right, there are a number of secrets. This one is clear as day, backed by science, but poorly utilised.

For a team to perform well and perform regularly, it really is quite simple; put your best team on the park, every time.

That seems very logical, yes? But, is it really that simple in reality?

Ask your coach. The best type of headache is a selection headache. Which players to choose for what positions? “Oh, but I have a full squad available… so who to choose?”

In reality, this is often not the case. Case in point; Liverpool FC. Compare their 2019-20 campaign with their current 2020-21 campaign and you’ll be acutely aware that there has been a significant drop in form. What you might also recall is the significant injury drama within their defensively minded squad members! Combine that with minor injuries to key first-team players and you realise that this team has not trained together properly since the start of their campaign. It’s no wonder they are struggling!

Here comes the scientific proof.

UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) collects data on as many squads within their competitions as they can. 24 football teams from nine countries across 11 seasons gave 155 ‘team-seasons’ worth of injury data to collect. This landmark study found that when the burden to the squad due to injury was lower (which means a higher player availability), these teams were afforded higher points per match on average. This also resulted in teams performing better in the Champions League or Europa League. Teams averaging greater than 85% availability performed better!

The same is true in Cricket, Rugby Union, Track and Field athletes and indeed any sport, where by having more than 80-85% attendance and availability for training or games resulted in success.  

Practically speaking; by devoting time and energy to maintaining your availability you gain:

  • More time in training your skills,
  • More time developing tactically,
  • More time developing your physical condition,
  • More availability for match-play
    • And therefore, more time on the park!

Want to help your team win? Stay injury free and keep on training!

Socceroos in “pre-hab” prior to playing Germany in 2015.

Updated 12:53pm, Monday 1 March 2021

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