Chesterfield’s first-year academy scholars enjoyed a new experience last Wednesday (February 21), when they visited both Loughborough College and University to undergo physical testing.
As well as proving beneficial for their own fitness, the visits also provided the scholars with information that will assist them in their college assignments.
“Our education partners, Loughborough College, offered to do us a day of physical testing,” academy education and welfare officer James Ford explained.
“So, we did some sophisticated body fat testing and power testing on a bike which involved sprinting.
“After that we did a max endurance test, where the lads had masks on their faces measuring the oxygen that they were breathing out and their fitness. They sprint for 10 minutes until they can’t go any more, they are clipped in to a body harness.
“A couple of the lads achieved higher than average test results, they did really well, the players were also taken over to see the facilities that are used by England athletics, so all in all it was a great day out.”
As well as liaising with both the college and university, Ford spoke with the likes of academy coach Miguel Llera and academy manager Mark Smith as to what tests the players were able to participate in.
“Initially it was planned where they wouldn’t have had anything intense on the day before, but the Derbyshire Senior Cup semi-final with Buxton fell the night before the visit,” Ford said.
“So, some of the lads unfortunately couldn’t do all the testing, but they all took part in at least one or two of them.
“Now we’ve got our test data which we can use to perhaps compare against the field testing and see how accurate it is – especially with the body fat testing, which we take almost every two weeks.”
So, how did the scholars find the day and what will they have taken from it?
“They loved it!” Ford asserted. “A day out of the football club is great for them, they can see what else is going on and be in a different environment.
“All of them learned a lot while they were there, which will help them for their college work.
“For some of them, it’ll be that there’s a lab-setting, they’ll have all done fitness testing on a field, but now they know there’s a lab setting where there’s a more accurate way of measuring and testing fitness.
“They’ve been to a university campus and seen the size of it, so if football doesn’t work out either with Chesterfield or in five-10 years’ time, they know what’s out there in terms of education if that’s what they aspire too.”
Ford himself found the visit to be a success and is already planning on doing more visits of the same ilk in the future.
“We’d love to make the visits annual and may be see if we could get some ties with other universities, but if not and as long as we’re in partnership with Loughborough college that will always remain,” he added.