Fax look to sports science to help find ‘new level’

Fax in action at Wakefield in the Super 8s
Fax in action at Wakefield in the Super 8s

Halifax conditioner Andy Holleyhead will use data from the squad’s session with sports scientists at Huddersfield University to help take the club’s conditioning programme to a “new level”.

Fax’s players gathered in Huddersfield last Saturday for a series of increasingly complex tests designed to give Holleyhead - who arrived at the club alongside coach Richard Marshall last autumn - ever more detailed information aimed at both improving performance and decreasing the chance of injury.

The schedule included a session on an IKD machine, which tested force and range of movement in the players’ shoulders, a power test conducted on a Wattbike and the more usual body fat and strength assessments.

“We’ve been talking to the university about developing a partnership that will benefit both parties and this was part of that,” said Holleyhead, who worked with Marshall at Warrington Wolves and still works part-time with another Super League side, Widnes Vikings.

“We had a great year this year on the back of a very good pre-season, but this winter we want to take everything to the next level.

“Saturday was about gathering more information, information that we didn’t have before, on the players as individuals.

“Last winter, we started with a limited knowledge about them as athletes; Richard knew some of them from playing or coaching, but not others.

“As athletes, we are trying to push them that little bit further now.

“The results we have now will allow us to make training more individual, more specialised.

“If a player has a particular issue, we can identify it and they can come in 10 minutes early and do a little bit extra to make sure they’re physically ready for the team session.”

For all the technology though, Holleyhead believes it is still old fashioned competition that will be the key factor in taking Marshall’s squad to a new high.

“There’s a buzz around training, even though it’s early on in pre-season,” he said.

“The competition there is for places is pushing the boys on, because they all want to be in that first 17 when the season kicks off.”