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Friday 4 July 2014

Reading Football Club are working with SSU's sports science department

As they prepare for the new Sky Bet Championship season, Reading Football Club is working with Southampton Solent University’s sport scientists – putting the players through their paces ahead of the new campaign.

The whole squad is being analysed and assessed by Solent sport scientists at the University’s BASES accredited sport science laboratories, in the run up to their pre-season training camp in the Midlands.

Headed up by the University’s Laboratory Director, Professor Stewart Bruce-Low, highly skilled staff and students are carrying out a series of physiological tests to create individual fitness profiles of the whole squad.

Least favoured by the players is the VO2 max test, where they are pushed to the limit on the treadmill wearing facemasks to monitor how much oxygen their bodies are using and having blood samples taken during their run.

The information gathered from the tests will have a direct impact on the training the players undertake under manager Nigel Adkins.

The Royals’ Head of Sports Science Nick Harvey said: “It’s been a good few days, the boys have really embraced it and I’m really happy with how things have gone. Throughout the tests we collected the air that they breathed as well as their blood, that’s obviously a facility that’s not available to us on the training ground so that’s why we come down and do it in the lab. This is a starting point; now we have some really good individual information to make sure that those levels are right and that come the start of the season we will be as fit and as fresh as possible.”

As part of this new working relationship, Reading Football Club will be offering a range of work experience and placements for students studying on the University’s BSc Applied Sport Science and BSc Sport Coaching courses.

Professor Bruce-Low, Laboratory Director says, “It’s great to be working with Reading. Our staff and students get a kick out of using their skills and our cutting edge facilities to help analyse and assess professional athletes and we look forward to developing our relationship with the Club.”

The University – whose sport science courses rank first for personal development in National Student Survey for student satisfaction – has become a regular fixture for the region’s football clubs.

“Managers, coaches and players are recognising the need to use sport science to obtain optimal individual performances and to increase a team’s competitive edge. Undertaking work experience of this calibre gives our students the edge when it comes to starting their careers. Many of our graduates are already playing key roles at some of the top sporting clubs in the country,” added Professor Bruce-Low.