I am currently the Strength and Conditioning coach for Arsenal Ladies FC, after spending time working with the Arsenal FC Youth Academy. I have joined the world of professional football from GAA, working in Limerick in recent years with the Limerick minor hurlers and footballers, as well as the Patrickswell senior hurling team and Ladies football team.
My own story involves a passion for sport, hurling in particular, and injuries. These things have led me down to the path of strength and movement training and prompted me to become a perpetual student of health and performance. Injuries have hampered my training and hurling preparation for years. As anyone with chronic injuries will attest to, they lend themselves well to a certain type of obsession with figuring out how to resolve them. Consequently, I have been consumed with learning as much as possible about optimizing human movement.
The content of this blog will veer towards my experiences in coaching as well as my own journey back to pain-free movement and optimal performance. I believe in challenging perceived knowledge, looking at things through an evolutionary perspective, and most of all keeping things simple!
My training philosophy has been shaped by my experiences of preparing for sport and using the gym as a means to build physical capacity, and by following leading figures in the strength and conditioning world who make sense. Developing a training philosophy helps us see the bigger picture, of what is important and why we do it. I think figuring out the ‘Why’ is a key part of someone’s training, and makes the process of ‘What’ and ‘How’ a lot clearer.
A well-grounded philosophy is the cornerstone on which everything else is built. This is especially true in sports conditioning. A sound philosophy is required for effective methods, and consistent, positive results. Vern Gambetta, Athletic Development.
Here are what I consider to be core values of training and living:
- Enjoy movement and training and don’t take yourself too seriously. Have fun.
- First move well, then move often. Gray Cook
- Move mindfully
- Suppleness is the key to athletic longevity and pain-free movement. Improving your joint mobility will maximize your movement potential safely, efficiently, and effectively.
- Chase good movement and lifestyle habits, not numbers or short-term gains. Embrace the process and let the results look after themselves.
- Every now and then push yourself and see what you can do.
- Avoid paralysis by analysis or obsessing over the minutia.
- Plan the hunt, hunt the hunt, discuss the hunt. Keep it in that order. Dan John
- No matter where you are coming from, the important thing is to get moving, don’t wait for the perfect moment. Just get started.
- Prioritize physical literacy with a broad movement vocabulary. Running, squatting, hinging, pushing and pulling, are important patterns but not the whole picture. Avoid becoming Saggital Man/Woman. Tumble, hop and skip, roll, crawl, hang from a bar. Challenge your body by solving movement problems that require practice.
- Live your life more in accordance with our evolutionary biology that got us here and less according to the trappings and technology of modern society. Mark Sisson puts it nicely: Sometimes we get so lost in the science of human biology we just can’t see the forest for the trees. We overlook the simplicity and ease with which we could all be achieving exceptional health and fitness. Do more of this: Eat real food, squat, run fast, lift heavy things, play, sleep, use your mind. Do less of this: Sit, facebook, playstation, stay up late, chronic stress, eat crisps, poison your body.
Fitness is a small world within the universe of movement. I view it as a limited world…People who practice movement never miss anything.
- Sports Performance MSc, 2013
- Sport and Exercise Sciences, 2010
- UKSCA Accredited Strength and Conditioning Coach, 2014
- Functional Range Conditioing practitioner, 2014
- NSCA, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, 2013
- Functional Movement Screen, 2013