Graham Smyth has delivered some behind-the-scenes insight into the start of Leeds United’s pre-season, and it may come of interest to the club’s supporters.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side have begun their pre-season preparations ahead of the new Premier League campaign, and Smyth has revealed the kind of work that the players are doing as they look to get up to speed.
He wrote in the Yorksire Evening Post: “Twenty-four of Marcelo Bielsa’s squad and a host of Thorp Arch medical staff descended on Leeds Beckett University’s £45m Carnegie School of Sport for the first day of pre-season testing.
“Players were screened and assessed at a range of stations as head of medicine and performance Rob Price and his team worked with university staff to ensure their footballers are all fit and healthy and to uncover base lines from which to maintain and recover fitness over the season.
“From strength assessment, to movement analysis and gait examinations – Max Dean ran on a treadmill so his form could be captured – staff of the club and the university left no stone unturned to paint a picture of each individual’s fitness and equip Leeds with the knowledge they will need when attempting to return players to action following injuries.”
Dr Stacey Emmonds, a reader in sports performance at Leeds Beckett and former staff member at Thorp Arch who was also involved at Carnegie, added: “Players have been really enthusiastic today and they’ve all got straight stuck into everything. They are world-class facilities that we have now and that’s probably something that we weren’t able to offer previously.
“It allows the club to come down to utilise the state of the art facilities and the top-of-the-range testing to hopefully get the best profiling at the start of pre-season that they can.”
Every little detail counts, and any advantage that Leeds can get, however small, could be crucial in either the short-term of one-off games, or even over the long-term of a full season.
The work being done by the players at Carnegie looks as though the Whites are setting themselves up as best as possible ahead of the new Premier League campaign, extracting every last nugget of information to enhance their performances.
For someone like Bielsa, that kind of micro-level management is surely right up his street, as he looks to work out the strengths and weaknesses of his players to the absolute minute detail.
Given the kind of intense pressing game Leeds play, ensuring that players don’t pick up muscle injuries through wear and tear by giving them the chance to train well in pre-season could be the key to keeping everyone fit and firing over a whole season.
It’s exactly why Leeds fans might be quite interested, if not intrigued, to hear of Smith’s behind-the-scenes reveal.