Rolls: There’s a Change Happening and They Want to Get on the Bus Early
Friday, 11th Jun 2021 18:38
New director of performance Andy Rolls has been explaining his role at the club and outlining what the players can expect from pre-season training, which starts on Saturday 26th June.
TWTD revealed that Rolls was set to join the Blues after he left Bristol City in April having previously been on the staff at Arsenal, West Ham and Watford, where he worked with new Town CEO Mark Ashton, as he did with the Robins. Having been away on holiday, he is now starting his position at Playford Road in earnest.
“The job title is director of performance that gives everyone a lot of ammunition to throw everything at me because the coach turning up late, that can affect performance, the food can affect performance, everything,” he told iFollow Ipswich.
“It’s a big topic. Initially, I’m concentrating on the medical team and the sports science team.
“I’ve brought in a lot of new people, I know a lot of them have been [announced] but we’re trying to really put a lot of effort and strength into that department.
“We’ve got a new head of sports science in Andy Costin, we’ve got a new first-team fitness coach in Ash [Jon Ashton], we have got a new head of strength and conditioning called Ivan, who hasn’t started yet.
“So we’re trying to put a lot of energy [into that] and the club are supporting us really hard in that to try and upgrade that system.
“[Physio] Matt Byard and his medical team have done brilliantly over the last year, especially with Covid, but I think he needs some support and help, he can’t be expected to do everything that he’s always done. So we’re trying to support that whole structure.”
Rolls says Covid has been a challenge for all clubs and that injuries were more commonplace during 2020/21 across football with players having had a longer than usual break during the first lockdown before returning to action.
“At the end of the day we need good players and we need to keep them as fit as we can, we need to keep them on the pitch,” he continued.
“That’s been really difficult, not just Ipswich but myself at Bristol City and other football clubs.
“[We were] seeing Liverpool, the biggest club in the country, having problems along those lines, so if they’re going to have to accept that football’s been different over the last two years.
“Perhaps as performance teams at different clubs we haven’t adapted to Covid very quickly and we have tried to do things we’ve always done, so I think we need to adapt now to coming out of Covid, being a bit more aggressive with the gym and the rehab work and fitness work to try and decrease the injuries and get us as fit as we possibly can.”
Town’s pre-season programme is not too far off starting, although with some players already having returned to the club.
“We’ve got the rest of this week and another week resting,” he said. “Some players have been in this week, players that we’ve highlighted that need special work, some extra work and their attitude to it has been brilliant.
“Often when you bring people in in the middle of their holiday it doesn’t got down well but I’ve got to say the lads who have been in this week have worked their socks off, they’ve been top drawer.
“The next week’s a down week, a lot of staff are in to get organised and whatever, then the week after there are some optional sessions for certain players, and players are already signing up for them because I think they know there’s a change happening and they want to get on the bus early.
“And then we start on Saturday 26th, that’s the first official day of training. We do two days training, one day off for the first two weeks and then we get into the match prep and then things change.
“Initially it will be roughly three sessions a day. There’ll be a pre-breakfast session which will be about stability, mobility, getting stronger, getting the bodies back used to the work they’re doing because they have had a bit of time off.
“Then there’ll be breakfast, then there will be the main football session, the fitness session, which will be football based with top-up runs at the end.
“Then there’ll be lunch and a downtime period, and then in the afternoon there will be different gym sessions for different specific things. There’ll be a lot of isometric and isotonic gym sessions and that’s basically the outline of the day.”
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