FFF meets Emmerson Boyce

The second part of our 'FFF meets' series involved catching up with former Crystal Palace, Luton Town, Blackpool, Barbados & Wigan Athletic player/captain Emmerson Boyce.

Emmerson was king enough to give us a great insight into his playing career and how he went about his Football Fitness.


What aspect of Football Fitness helped you prolong your career?

Think the biggest part was managing myself through training. Instead of doing 10 sprints to keep up with the younger boys, I would do 5. Ive learnt to listen to my body. To do what's right for it, when to rest and when to push harder.

What was your best training regime?

I've been lucky to played under a lot of managers with different methods of training and ideas of keeping you fit for the season. 
Swimming and yoga played a big part of maintaining my fitness towards the end of my career. And plenty of stretching before and after training. 

How have your views on Football Fitness training changed throughout your career?

My younger days I was not the best at paying attention to stretching. When I hit the big time I realised how important nutrition, warm ups and cool downs are. Taking care of your muscles especially after a hard training session. I was always on the massage table before and after training as well as before games.

I have been lucky with my experience around foreign players. Where they take on injury prevention was a big eye opener. Where my mentality was no pain no game. They were more cautious and any discomfort they would make sure they get it checked out and it felt right before they trained and of course they would miss one game rather than 3 or 4 or more.

When did you feel at your peak and what would you put that down to?

I had two peaks in my career. First year at Crystal Palace age 24/25
I was the strongest and fittest I had ever felt. John Harbin was a very hard but fair fitness coach. He instilled hard work and no cutting corners. An intense work ethic in training which stayed with me through my career, he introduced me to swimming fitness. 

The second peak was one was the year after Wigan had won the FA cup in 2013. I hardly missed a game in the 2013/14 season and felt fantastic at the age of 35. We were in the championship, got to the FA Cup semi final, Europa league, play offs I must of played the most games out of the players in that season and at the end of it still felt fresh.

What was your favourite recovery method(s)?

Swimming, massage, stretching & bike sessions. As well as plenty of good food pasta, chicken. Fruit etc

How much did you focus on nutrition through your career? 

Nutrition is one of the most important part of preparation and recovery for training and games.
I am lucky where I do not really put on weight. but I have always eaten the right kind of food. Massive lover of chicken, rice pasta. And all sorts of fruit. In my 30's I started to experiment with fish which again is great for recovery.

How will you approach Football Fitness if you go into coaching? 

Injury prevention is key to any coach being successful I think.
Everything must have a purpose. Not run for the sake of running. 
Unlike me in my younger days till I started picking up little injuries.
And you realise stability flexibility can help you so much.

How has Football Fitness evolved throughout your career?

When I started everything was about running up hills. Doing 10 laps around the football field etc. 
Different managing styles, the influence of foreign players and the addition of sport science have allowed the game to progress. Players are now understanding what certain stretching and food helps your body.

What do you wish you'd done more of? 

To be fair I have got to 37 still fit and no serious injury. 
Maybe spent bit more time in the gym. Maybe sharp turning. And working on my stamina. But all in all I managed myself well.

How would you prepare for a game?

The day before a game I always felt I needed a good run to get my heart going before a game. But as time went by managers used to day why do you want to use all your energy today when the game is tomorrow.
In the warm up before a game. I like short sharp exercise to get my legs going. And plenty of water. Scramble eggs beans pasta was always good pre-match meal.

Massive thank you to Emmerson for taking the time to do the interview for us. Everyone at FFF wishes him all the best for the future.


Football Fitness Federation