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Premier League Southern Division team Lewes Ladies FC has enlisted a new member of their back room team as Rachel Comer has joined as their Sports Scientist for the new season.
So what exactly does a Sport Scientist do? A Sport Scientist uses information gathered from performance or fitness testing to improve individual and team performance. They are here to squeeze out that extra bit of performance by assessing each player's strengths and weaknesses. Not only do Sport Scientists aim to get a better performance but, they also aim to improve the team's recovery between matches and training whilst trying to reduce injuries.
Since coming on board with Lewes Ladies FC, Rachel Comer has introduced strategies to improve nutrition and overall diet with the team. This can range from how much fluid they drink to what they should be eating at what times. Rachel commented: "It can be hard trying to implement a change in someone's diet, especially when you are talking about a whole team, but so far so good they are sticking to it! Even though I have banned Haribo in the changing room!
"Fitness has also been monitored closely. Working with Steve the fitness coach means that I can assess each player individually but also calculate the team's overall fitness. These fitness levels are compared to national standards and the girls are then pushed harder in training to meet these elite standards. The 'fitter' the team, the better they will recover between matches and training. The better the recovery, the less injuries we are likely to see.
"It's not only physical attributes that sport scientists try to enhance. Sport psychology is also a big part of improving mental toughness in a team. This is a big buzz phrase at the moment due to the success of the London 2012 Olympics and yes, it's been talked about around the Dripping Pan since I started. Mental toughness is made up of different components from pre-game anxiety to self confidence and team belief. What I try to do is allow players to see things from a different point of view, even if this is as simple as talking about how different players will react differently to certain situations.
"By doing all of these things it is my hope that we can build on last year's amazing achievement and accomplish something great in the near future."
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