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Swapping sand dunes for Science


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by Lindsay Herron

THE month of July was never one that the Rangers players used to look forward to in the good old days of Jock Wallace.

Pre-season training was not so much a fitness build-up to the new season as a tortuous assault course which invariably reduced men to quivering wrecks.

Jock was a man of steel, of course, and decided that hammering his players into the ground was the way to get them in shape for the new season.

Derek Johnstone on the Gullane SandsIt was running, running and more running. Not only that, but it was running up and down the sizeable sand dunes of Gullane in East Lothian.

Like a sergeant-major, Wallace barked out orders to his players forcing them up and down the dunes to the point where some very physically sick.

It was Wallace's assertion that this was the way to get his man ready for a season-long campaign.

In fairness to him, two Trebles in the space of three years is compelling evidence that his methods were successful.

Football, however, has come a long way in terms of the training methods and practices employed in pre-season and throughout the season and Rangers can be proud of the fact that they are at the forefront of sport science.

Adam Owen heads up this side of things for Walter Smith and has been given virtually carte blanche to come up with programmes that will make the Rangers players not only supremely fit but perhaps give them that edge which can make all the difference the top level of the game.

Just one per cent more than the other guy can mean success over failure on the big occasion and that is what Owen is working to.

Inspired by the work being carried out at Milanlab - the comprehensive sports science centre at AC Milan's training ground - Owen and the Rangers physios and medical team are doing great things.

Fitness is key, of course, but there is so much more to it than that. Injury prevention is a huge factor and Rangers are working hard on this side of things.

Adam Owen with Lee McCulloch in the Murray Park gymOf course, there is still hard work going on but as you will read in an extensive interview with Owen in this week's magazine it is highly scientific.

All of the players were tested last week on power and lung capacity and also body fat, having been given specific programmes to follow over the summer.

Each player has different requirements and these are tailored to suit by Owen and his team.

The days of coming back to training a couple of stone overweight and then trying to sweat it all off are long gone.

The proof will be in the pudding when the season kicks off but Rangers did seem to be stronger than most sides in the second half of last season and also late in matches.

I wonder if big Jock would approve.


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There should be an alcohol ban if they are in fact serious about this.

Totally agree. if they are following the Milan model then the Rangers players should be keeping up with a healthy lifestyle as well. Although we don't have anyone near the same calibre of a Maldini or Costacurta the example of these guys to play into their 40's at such a high level shouldn't be over estimated.

Best example of this is Davie Weir. Not the most skilful player by any strech of the imagination but shows what can be done if you look after yourself. Guys like Boyd and Adam should take note

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These players rely on their fitness and health to do what they are paid to do.

If players regularly fail to keep their health in check, it effects their game.

It's the same with singers, they are discouraged to smoke and do certain things which may have an effect on their vocals.

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