Getting Into The Game

So here we are, our first blog at ESP! Its safe to say that there are really exciting times ahead of us, but before we talk about the current and indeed the future lets first discuss the past! We think that it would be a nice start to our monthly blog by telling you a little bit about ESP and what we have been doing since we moved into our gym in January of this year.

Ok lets go back to the start, before ESP existed. Mark was a Regional Academy Performance Coach at the Scottish Rugby Union at the time and I was just finishing my 6th year working at Celtic Football Club as a youth physio. We often had the same discussion each time we met and the major theme of this recurring conversation was ‘why do so many talented young athletes not make the transition to professional sport?’ From our personal experience both Mark and I felt that the drop out rate was extremely high…we wondered what happened to all these footballers once they were released?

The statistics are frightening and it would appear that most of these boys end up playing for lower league teams while some drop out of football all together. What a waste! Imagine playing football 3 times a week from the age of 7, moving into a pro youth academy at 9 and then being released at 19 because, and I quote, you rely on your talent too much! Think of all those thousands of hours invested to be told that your not fit enough for pro football but not to worry as you’ll find your level! Both Mark and I knew that current performance was no indicator for future performance and so with that in mind we wanted to know, could these boys be saved from being thrown onto the football scrap heap?!?!

Between us we had 40 years of experience in sports from either competing in or working in that environment. We reviewed our CVs and realised that we had everything it would take to help these boys and probably more importantly the passion to do it. Just imagine if you could be the player you were at 32 years in terms of knowledge and experience but in the body of a 20 year old that was physically competent! We had all the knowledge to pass down…all we needed was a gym and some aspiring pro footballers to begin building our athletes!

Where there’s a will there’s a way. In January of this year we started our lease of a small unit at Grangemouth Stags RFC with pitches and floodlights on-site. We spent the next 4 months at night building our training facility. Nothing fancy, just equipped with all the right tools to make a pro athlete. You wont find any treadmills or exercise bikes at the unit but instead there are iron plates galore, bars, squat racks, Olympic lifting platforms, pulling sled’s, medicine balls and everything else you need to produce monsters that can out sprint and out muscle any opponent.

In June we recruited our first 3 players and Elite Sporting Performance was officially born. These boys had all played pro-youth football up until the age of 19 and at one time were considered starlets for the old firm. Now they were either playing at lower level teams, injured or in between clubs. They all had the same common denominator, they all wanted to be pro footballers and were prepared to work their butts off to get there. If there is one key ingredient that you need to make it to the top it’s resilience. These boys had it and that was good enough for us!

So for the last 4 months we have been pushing our boys every week at ESP. They’ve done things they would never had imagined doing before:-150kg sled drags, resisted sprints,175kg deadlifts; explosive band counter movement jumps; overhead chaos chain pressing and are now squatting close to double body weight! No longer do they resemble the skinny lightweight footballers that walked through our doors in June. Instead now they are athletes with bad intentions to smash every training session and rip it up on he field. Two of our boys are knocking on the first team door of 2nd division teams and we at ESP know that if they continue to work with us they’ll smash their way onto bigger and better things!

In next months blog we will be discussing the benefits of Olympic lifting for athletes and in particular we will put the spot-light on the Olympic clean.

Stay strong!


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