FFF meets Adam Forrest

27 February 2017 Alan Mockford performance, coach, twitter, speed, freshness, development, training

Today's blog arose from a recent meeting with Wigan Athletic F.C. Performance Coach Adam Forrest that came about after a Twitter exchange we had a couple of weeks back.

Twitter is a great place to speak with other professionals and discuss training. Recently this form of communication (in my humble opinion) has become somewhat of a crusade by those looking to promote one method of training over another. The twitter environment has now also evolved into a virtual 'snipers alley' with those coaches sharing practice on social media being subject to cheap shots from other coaches who often are unwilling to put their names to their views and hide behind fake accounts (losing integrity in their sometimes valid and valuable contributions). I had recently been thinking back to my own experiences on on twitter and how some of the strongest connections I have made were born of arguments and debate. Something that helped to forge these meaningful connections was the ability to avoid being emotional or personal with the other party regardless of how passionately I felt about the subject matter.  

One such debate was with Adam when we were discussing the use of athletics training for speed in a football setting. What needs to be realised is the limitations of using twitter in discussion, context and meaning can often be lost when the use of characters is limited. Nothing will ever replace speaking face to face with other people, if you want a true understanding of what another person is doing as part of their role at a club go and meet them, which is exactly what I did.

As it turned out the meeting was a highly successful and valuable experience. We both achieved a greater understanding of the other persons work and found that we actually shared a lot of common ground. This form of development cannot and will not ever be replaced, networking is a hugely important part of improving practice, if you don't do it currently then you need to start. After we chatted Adam was courteous enough to answer a couple of quick fire questions to share as part of this blog.

Can you (very briefly) summarise your approach to developing football fitness:
Sure, I've been highly influenced by Charlie Francis and his work regarding the importance of neural recovery, I utilise the high/ low CNS training model he developed with his athletes and apply it in a Football environment. I'm also a firm believer in the cross use of training methods and ideas from other sports and tailor these to fit my own needs. I leave the game based practices to the football coaches at the club, I've found that they are able to maximise sessions intuitively and know when players are getting the benefits they need from them. I work with the coaches to sequence the days in terms of intensity and try to tie them all together. 

What area would you say you are most passionate about in the area of football fitness?
The transfer of strength and general fitness training to football performance, there is definitely a need for more research in this area.

Do you have a recommended read for S+C coaches working in football? 
I'd highly recommend looking at the paper 'Developing maximal neuromuscular power: Part 2 – Training considerations for improving maximal power production'.

Who do you follow on twitter?
JB Morin
Brett Bartholomew
Dan Pfaff

What do you feel is the biggest training mistake others make in developing football fitness?
The misuse of minimal effective dose is something I see a lot, incorrect loading and no/ little value being placed on 'freshness' of players.

What has been the most effective thing you have done in terms of career development/CPD?
Working with a number of different athletes has to be number one, practicing with a range of populations and being exposed to as many situations as you can equips you so much better than any course or workshop ever could.