Wigan Warriors have been put through their pre-season paces by science experts at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
Last week the players took part in laboratory tests within UCLan’s Centre for Applied Sport and Exercise Sciences (CASES) in preparation for the start of the 2010 season.
The session, which was part of a series of ongoing visits to the campus, was designed to measure the progression of each player during pre-season and competition phase.
The ongoing collaborative tests were directed by Dr Steve Atkins, Academic Lead for CASES, and Postgraduate Researcher Sian Parry, while Dr Chris Edmundson, University Lead Sports Consultant, Dr Lindsay Bottoms, and Rehana Jawadwala supervised the students involved.
The test day enabled MSc Sports Science students to gain practitioner experience with high-level athletes and give them a greater understanding of practical development of elite sports players. The CASES team has developed an excellent pedigree testing elite athletes from a variety of sports, and the link with Wigan is one of the highest profile consultancies completed thus far.
Now in its second season, the relationship with Wigan Warriors is cross-faculty and draws on experience from several areas of sports performance, including Sports Science support, sports coaching and performance analysis, and the results obtained from the initial testing will provide accurate baseline data to plan training loads.
Mark Bitcon, Wigan’s Head of Strength and Conditioning, said:
“It’s a fantastic collaboration, I’ve only been with the club a short time but both myself and Head Coach Michael Maguire have already visited a few times. The staff have been superb and they’ve created a really advanced training session for us. Sports science is huge now and UCLan is the vehicle to help us move forward.
“We want to become one of the best coaching departments in Super League, it’s alright having the best players and the best squad but it’s also about what you’re doing off the field. It gives the guys a great appreciation of the areas of sports science and it strengthens the links between UCLan and the Warriors.”
As part of the alliance, six Wigan players are currently studying for the BSc(Hons) Strength and Conditioning course; with coaching staff Mick Turner and Mick Forshaw also engaged in academic study at UCLan.
Warriors’ captain and UCLan student Sean O’Loughlin, who was undergoing advanced testing, commented:
“It’s great to come and take advantage of the quality machines here. The VO2 max gives a good indicator of our fitness levels, there’s quite a bit of running involved and you get the scientific feedback of your oxygen intake and output levels.
“It’s good for us and for the coaching staff to have that information to look at. The students doing the testing aspire to be in a career in a few years where they’ll be doing this on a regular basis so I think it provides a fantastic insight for them.”
Earlier in the year UCLan secured a two-year sponsorship deal with the Club making it the ‘Official University of Wigan Warriors.’