Crystal Palace Academy Manager Dave Moss has introduced weekly yoga sessions and visits from sports psychologists as he looks to add to the reputation of the already successful Academy.
Moss has brought in weekly yoga sessions – in temperatures of 105 degrees after being inspired by the set-up at Manchester United.
United stars such as Ryan Giggs, have credited yoga with having a positive effect on steering clear of injury and helping to extend playing careers and with the United production line in the past including the likes of Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and more recently Darren Fletcher and Darron Gibson, Moss is keen to emulate the Red Devils recipe for success.
Speaking to the Football League Interactive, he said:
“We want to produce a professional culture here at Crystal Palace, a sense of professionalism. Walk into United’s training grounds at Carrington and that’s the feeling there.”
“I am forward-thinking and want to do the best for the boys here. If something sounds like it will benefit them, I will look at it. One of the companies I am using, Leading Teams, work with Martin Johnson and the England rugby union team, as well as the Australian cricket team – that’s how good they are.”
“Leading Teams give the players the opportunity to set their own benchmark. It is not like the traditional coaching set-up where there is one person saying ‘do this, do that’. It gets players to set their own standards.”
“And if one of the boys falls below that, the rest of them are there to pull him into line.”
Moss’s avant-garde approach comes from experience gained outside football from a period when he was in charge of business development at Lloyd’s of London.
“A lot of clubs are set in their ways. They may be less inclined to try things like sports psychology. My aim is to improve players and move the club forward. It comes from my background. You get a more well-rounded view on things if you work in the real world, so to speak.”
Moss reckons the hot yoga sessions are having an effect on his players, both on and off the pitch.
“The more stuff I read about sports science and yoga, the more it made sense. Manchester United do it. So does Andy Murray – and look what it is doing for his tennis!”
“The coaches tell me the lads are a lot calmer the day after a session. And I hear they are more settled in their College classes after doing yoga as well.”