Canaries putting their best foot forward

PUBLISHED: 12:31 04 October 2006 | UPDATED: 09:42 14 September 2010

Norwich City footballers are reaping the benefit of new sports science testing equipment - one of only three systems of its kind in use worldwide. The new "Smart Speed" timing gates at Colney can not only test the raw speed of players, but can also be used for skills training and rehabilitation.

Norwich City footballers are reaping the benefit of new sports science testing equipment - one of only three systems of its kind in use worldwide.

The new “Smart Speed” timing gates at Colney can not only test the raw speed of players, but can also be used for skills training and rehabilitation.

Only Chelsea Football Club and the All Blacks rugby team use equipment as advanced as the eight-gate system, devised in New Zealand and costing £8,000 - with half the cost being met by the Friends of Norwich City Youth, who have now raised £250,000 in 10 years for the club's Academy.

City sports scientist Dave Carolan, who bought the system, said: “Speed and power are vital elements in the fitness profile of any sportsperson and in recent years football has become a faster and more powerful sport.

“A system like this is going to give us accurate testing of players in a variety of applications, be it speed, power or agility, and also their decision-making capacity, their spatial awareness and their reaction speeds. We also have the capacity to introduce skill elements.

“That really is taking us to a level where it's got away from being a stopwatch or somebody guessing. Why guess when you can know? By using equipment like this, it really is going to take us to the point where all players are measured and can see their development and the development of their training programmes.

“There's no hiding place for the players in terms of taking themselves on in their physical development.”

The system will also assist staff in helping players return from injury.

Carolan said: “By re-assessing a player prior to their return from a long spell out, we can see if they are close to their previous performance levels, thus reducing the chance of re-injury.”

The system can be used on players from under-nine level to the first team.

Said Carolan: “Some clubs have found the cost prohibitive but the club, in association with Foncy, have gone the extra mile to make sure we've got the best equipment that's out there. I would like to thank Foncy for their contribution towards the cost of this state-of-the-art equipment.”

Foncy was established in September 1996 by supporter John Landamore with the aim of raising funds for City's youth development.

“We're delighted to be able to contribute to something that will not only benefit the Academy but will be an asset right through the club,” said Foncy chairman Landamore.

“We're now celebrating our 10th anniversary and have raised £250,000 in that time.”

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