As part of our new Health and Wellness series, we're taking fans behind the scenes at the City Football Academy to meet the staff responsible for ensuring that our young players and both the Men’s and Women’s First teams are in peak physical condition.

Shayne Murphy is Strength and Conditioning Coach for our Elite Development Squad.

City are Shayne’s fourth English Football League club. He joined from Premier League counterparts Liverpool, and before that had worked at Blackburn Rovers and Cardiff City.

Can you give us an overview of your role?

I’m the lead Strength and Conditioning Coach with the EDS, where I’m responsible for looking after the players’ training requirements. I have to ensure the lads are ready to train and play and to optimise their gym programmes to give them the best chance of making that happen.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

We start with a team meeting between all the Performance staff where we talk about individual players and what everyone needs from them that day. From there we plan the training schedule, and after that I’ll start preparing the lads to train, or pre-activation as we call it.

I’ll take them through movements and sequences which will prepare them to be at their best in the training session. Once training begins, we do a more advanced warm-up, which blends in with what they’ll do for the rest of the session. 

During the session I’ll be looking at the GPS to make sure the lads are at the right level, and working out whether some will need to do a little more at the end. On certain days we’ll have a gym session, so I’ll take the lads through their individual programmes and make sure everyone gets what they need.

What are your matchday responsibilities?

I’m involved a little bit less because the work is almost done, but I’ve got the warm-up to do and we’ve got to make sure everyone is eating right before the game. For the warm-up we’ve got a set protocol that we go through on matchdays, so everyone gets the right stimulus and a good readiness to play the game.

How does your role fit into the work of the wider Performance team?

My relationship is key with the coaches and other medical staff because the players are at the centre of that. We have to make sure that everyone is aware of all the players’ involvement. 

In the U21s your responsibility is a little different to every other age group because you’ve got so many players who are in and out of your squad. Some could be down with the U18s and some could be with the First Team. 

You have to be mindful of where everyone is on any given day, and that communication between other members of staff is crucial to make sure no player falls through the net, and that some aren’t being over trained or under trained.

What’s the biggest challenge in this role?

Getting players to see their path, because some get very frustrated if things don’t happen straight away. We live in a society where the new generation want things very quickly, and we have to ensure they have a long term approach to their programme because what they want to achieve will take time. 

With hard work they’ll get to where they need to be, and we have to get them to understand that when other things outside of our control affect them. That’s the biggest challenge - when things don’t go well, how do you get the best out of a player?

How has professional practice changed during your career?

From a sports science point of view, more technology is being used. Everyone is now GPS’d so we’re monitoring players a lot better now. With the advances in technology we face a problem that some people look at the numbers too much and forget that it’s a human being that we’re dealing with.

Numbers don’t always tell you everything. They can give you a picture but we have to ensure we don’t get lost in the numbers and the involvement of GPS and other systems. We can’t forget we’re dealing with a human being.

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