Historic Performance Podcast Review: Rhys Carr Head of Fitness & Conditioning at Bristol City FC

For any coaches involved in football either technical or fitness based this was a great insight in to REAL world S&C/Sport Science at a professional club.


Rhys talked about falling out of love with football but then heading back in to the game to follow his passion, which for anyone who is unhappy in any role is a key message!


The main focus of the podcast was on tactical periodization. Rhys described it as a ‘precise methodology’ that originated in Portugal and is based around the coach’s style of play/training methodology.


Tactical periodization is based on 4 moments in the game:



-Transition from Attack to Defence

-Transition from Defence to Attack


It also takes in the 4 corners of development – technical , tactical , physical and psychological .


Rhys talked about players being competent in these 4 areas, then having the ability to repeat football actions throughout a game. If player’s performances are affected by one or more of the 4 corners then that is the area they must improve.


Rhys also spoke about training supplementation. This again can be broken down in to gym work, psychology, technical skill etc. Players will carry out individual supplementation sessions that suit their game. It might be that due to a player’s injury history that they need to spend more time in the gym improving strength. They may need to spend time on the pitch working on their speed and acceleration. It may also be that they need time to work on technical skills such as passing, shooting etc. The player and their current status determine this.


The supplemented training methods used will be used to benefit the player on the pitch. The performance on the pitch outlines the need for various areas to be worked on that may be required to do so away from the pitch and away from the game. The idea still being that any work away from the pitch will still be designed to impact performance positively.


Personally this is an area I think many get confused and Rhys did a great job in explaining how they use additional training.


Coaches either seem to be caught up in the methodology that EVERYTHING has to be done on the pitch or that football and supplemented sessions are two completely different things. Rhys explained how the 2 compliment each other.


A key takeaway for coaches at clubs was the model they implement around games. One key thing that Rhys explained was the flexibility in this model and how it can be adapted if needed (dictated by travel schedule etc).


Bristol’s 4 day lead up to games is as follows:


Match day -4 Strength Focus

Match day -3 Aerobic Focus

Match day -2 Speed Focus

Match day -1 Activation/Reactive Speed Focus


The big focus from Rhys was managing individuals within the team environment. At later points in the season injury prevention becomes key for highly used players. The player that have had less game time must be ready to step in and perform so how their training is adapted is suited to this.


Travel schedule was a big indicator of the training week. After big journeys players may be given later sessions to allow for greater sleep.


See our previous blog ‘ 5 ways to improve sleep and accelerate recovery ’ for our methods of improving sleep.


Rhys also highlighted the reason for players having Sundays rather than Mondays off. He spoke of many player’s families and friends being busy/unavailable on Mondays due to work commitments etc so players found it more appropriate to have Sundays off.


The following Monday session would then be split into 2 groups.


Group 1- Second day recovery group

Including player who played in the game. Their focus would be mobility work, light technical drills, ice baths, cryotherapy, and light spinning sessions.


Group 2- Unused players

These players would work mainly anaerobically and ensure they get the ‘physical hit’ the other players got from the game.


Players would be encouraged to tick at least 2 of the recommended recovery protocols given to them to optimize their recovery. This gives ownership to the players to ensure they recover as well as possible.

Some of the recovery tools mentioned were:


-Post game recovery shake

-Ice bath

-Foam Rolling

-Cool Down



Overall the podcast from James & Rhys was very informative and gave a great insight in to the day-to-day roles of an S&C coach at a professional club. I’d like to thank Rhys for sharing all the information he did on the podcast and thank James for another great episode. Keep up the good work!




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