I was asked to work at Manchester United F C in the year 2000 and when I got there it was a brand new training centre called Carrington. I had gone in to work with the under 18s to show the coaching staff the types of exercises I had been using in the Power Development training sessions in a lot of Manchester schools and colleges.
Rob Swire was the new head physio at the training centre for Man Utd and he introduced me to some of the equipment that they had bought for the training centre. I used a lot of #Boxing type exercises with the players, that were developed for use with soccer players in particular. These exercises helped develop speed, reaction and power; the problem was we could not collect statistics for the boxing type training. One of the exercises that Rob showed me was a prototype fro the #Batak machine, which was used for hand #speed and #reaction, this machine told you how many hits you had got in 60 seconds or 30 seconds. Another machine for feet speed was a Cybex speed reactor machine and that also gave you stats and data.
For quite a few years we used the boxing, Batak and Cybex to give the players exceptional speed reaction agility and power training. As the years went by I made a lot of inquires into what type of equipment was on the market to train in a similar way but a little more advanced. The Batak was quite restrictive, it just had 10 lights and you could not change the height width or depth of the positioning. The Cybex machine was actually designed for tennis players and so it had restrictions for its use.
The fantastic thing about Manchester United was that it was so famous during the 2000 to 2011 that I was there, it gave me massive opportunities to go round the world and seek out the best equipment. I did this with a research colleague of mine called Lee Sidebottom. I brought Lee into the club early days to speak to the players, where we got the greatest insight to what is required for them to be at their best, then we went out to find it. I brought so many different things in, equipment with massive claims or its abilities, but I didn’t see anything I thought was exceptional until much later on.
In 2011 Alex Ferguson had brought in a large sports science team into Carrington and spent millions of pounds updating the areas for training and equipment, they brought in monitoring devices of every type and design. Alex asked me to use my years of experience to go over to the youth set up on the other side of Carrington and open up a gym for the players over there who had been neglected as the mighty United surged on. I was to work with Brian McClair and his staff in design and build the new gym.