Meet The SmartCoaches Behind The System
Getting the numbers that matter most from a game or training session is one thing, but putting that performance data to work is where PLAYR makes the beautiful game smarter. We’ve enlisted a trio of Premier League coaches to tailor sports science advice to you, from how you sleep to what you should be eating post-match, so you can rely on the same expertise the world’s very best players get.
But who’s behind our system? Meet the SmartCoaches…
A key member of Sir Alex Ferguson’s backroom staff at Manchester United for six seasons, there isn’t much Tony Strudwick hasn’t won in football. Five Premier League titles, three League Cups and a FA Cup in addition to a Champions League trophy in 2008 makes for an impressive CV full of silverware as the Red Devils’ Head of Athletic Development. Prior to his spell at Old Trafford, the leading practitioner had a short playing career at Colchester United, before obtaining a PhD in sports science, and then holding positions at West Ham United, Blackburn Rovers and the England national team – the latter of which saw him head to Brazil as part of Roy Hodgson’s backroom staff at the World Cup in 2014. Now Wales’ Head of Performance and rejoining his former colleague Ryan Giggs, Strudwick will be hoping he can help build on Wales’ impressive showing at Euro 2016.
“PLAYR allows you to improve performance because you start to self analyse and look at what needs to happen to maximise performance,” Strudwick tells us. “Your performance at whatever level will improve because it does provide you with objective and relevant information. The SmartCoach concept is really the game changer. It now allows you to take your live data, put it into a system and get feedback on what that looks like. The SmartCoach is changing the game because at whatever level you play at you can tap into sports science expertise.”
Largely credited with the vast physical improvements at Catapult Sports clients Leicester City during their historic Premier League triumph in 2016, Head of Fitness and Conditioning Matt Reeves is one of the most innovative sports scientists in football. His responsibilities at the Foxes include reducing injury occurrence, improving physical preparation and developing athletic performance where he encourages a high standard with transparent communication among a host of stars. A graduate in sport and exercise science from Loughborough University, Matt was also part of the England Under-20s’ World Cup victory in 2017 and has previously worked for Hull City.
“Technology is key for assessing player performance,” Reeves says. “I think it allows us to create a buy in amongst individuals where we can educate them, create competitiveness and monitor performance improvements throughout time. Technology and sports science is really important to the modern game, whether that be elite professional athletes all the way through to the amateur or aspiring footballer.”
Drawing on experience across a range of sports at the highest levels, there are few sports scientists in the world that can boast the understanding Chris Barnes has. Previously of Middlesbrough, West Brom and Queens Park Rangers in the world of football, the leading practitioner has also worked with the England rugby league team, Great Britain basketball, Nike and Red Bull in addition to a number of NFL teams and the NBA itself. Leading the field for over the past two decades and currently a performance consultant to Danish club Brøndby IF, Chris continues to shape sports science as we know it.
“One hundred per cent do I think amateur players would welcome this information,” Barnes tells us. “The whole concept behind the PLAYR app and SmartCoach system is trying to ensure the information that these amateur players are receiving is sound advice and is based on exactly the advice given to Premier League players. Unfortunately as we all know, social media is a big thing, but it’s responsible for a lot of nonsense being spread sometimes. The amateur players, a lot of the time, will not know what information to take seriously and which not to. Through the PLAYR app, what we’re doing is providing these people with something they can actually rely on.”
Track, Analyse, Improve
Catapult One is a sport tracking solution that measures the core metrics to make you a better player