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How Did Matchfit Start...?

How Did Matchfit Start...?

Hey!

I'm James, the Founder of Matchfit Conditioning.

My expertise is in football specific strength & conditioning, and I have a fantastic, ever-growing team of people working with me every day to make this all possible.

If it's ok with you, I’d like to share my roller-coaster personal journey with you...

It will give you a better understanding of why we are so passionate about helping footballers unlock their true athletic potential on the pitch and how we can help you.

Even though Matchfit Conditioning is now one of the biggest hubs of football performance advice anywhere in the world, followed by some of the greatest names in world football, things certainly weren’t always this way.

In fact, they couldn’t have been more different, especially if you knew me from a young age.

Before We Go Any Further, I'd Like To Introduce You To The Rest Of Matchfit Conditioning Coaching Team...

Yianni

You might have already had your question answered by Yianni in The Matchfit Online Academy. Yianni has an MSc in Strength & Conditioning, is an Accredited Strength & Conditioning Coach from the UKSCA and a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist from the NSCA.

He has experience in providing conditioning support in pro football at Leyton Orient FC and academy football at QPR. He’s also an avid Arsenal fan, which he doesn’t enjoy quite as much!

Marco

Marco has a MSc in Strength & Conditioning, is a certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has a BSc in Human Movement Sciences.

Marco specialises in movement and the development of strength and power in footballers. You'll most likely interact with Marco on our Instagram page!

Jarred

Jarred has a BSc in Sports Rehabilitation, a MSc (Med) in Exercise Science and is a certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). Jarred is also the Lead Sports Scientist for one of South Africa's biggest football clubs, Kaizer Chiefs. 

You'll primarily hear from Jarred in The Matchfit Online Academy, guiding you through the rehab process for an array of football related injuries and also via some of our recent blog articles!

Shaun

Shaun has a MSc in Sports Nutrition, a BSc in Nutrition and has worked privately with several top-level footballers since completing his Masters.

During his time as a Performance Nutritionist with Science in Sport (SIS), Shaun was closely linked with Manchester United - supplying players with personalised advice on supplementation and complete nutrition plans.

Shaun believes that nutrition is the key factor which enables a player to maximise the adaptations from their training. Without proper nutrition, a hard-working player will always sell themselves short of their full potential.

So, I Was Living The Dream

...I spent 9 years in the academy of a professional club in England, looking back this really shaped my identity for who I am today. It seemed like every other week my team mates were cut and new players came in on trial, only to be released a few weeks later and so the cycle went on.

By the age of 17 I realised that from that first academy training session at 8 years old, I was the only player which remained.

To this day, I still put this down to my attitude, work rate, understanding of the game and mindset.

I always trained with the belief that if I had a bad session, I deserved to be sub at the weekend, it was down to me to make sure I was first on the team sheet and I always seeked out ways to give me an edge over other players.

I'd seen so many talented players come and go, week in week out I came up against players such as Theo Walcott, and played alongside the likes of Chris Smalling and Matthew Phillips.

What's the one thing all of these guys had in common?

They weren't any more skilful than any other player...but they were all exceptional athletes without the ball.

In The Blink Of An Eye It Was All Gone

Having always been amongst the fittest players in the squad and progressed to being selected for England Schoolboys, I suddenly found myself struggling with one injury after another when I hit 18.

The cycle of finding form and then being hit by injury continued for some time before I became so frustrated (and lost so much confidence) that I decided to continue to try and play through my injuries.

...This lead to the development of a chronic hip injury and the doctor bluntly and firmly telling me 'I'm afraid this is the end of your footballing career' when I had just turned 19.

Needless to say I was devastated.

In the space of a few seconds I had lost my identity. If only I had listened to my body and had the knowledge I do now to put it right.

This is where the mindset that I picked up from 9 years at the academy paid dividends.

I knew if I was to find any way out of this, I would need to understand football specific strength & conditioning to an expert level, so that I could gain the knowledge to hopefully one day play again (despite what the doctors said).

I Needed "A Miracle"

At the time of making this decision I remember thinking I would need a miracle to play again.

I could barely manage a light jog without severe pain, let alone competing again in a match.

My New Mission

With a new burning desire to better understand my conditioning and forge a return to football, I decided to go to university to study a BSc in Sports Science.

I tailored all of my assignments to my injury wherever possible (to gain a deeper understanding) and after completing my degree I went on to specialise in Football Strength & Conditioning (as well as football specific nutrition).

Whereas some Strength & Conditioning coaches cover a range of sports, I have always focused 100% of my time and energy on football, working exclusively with footballers.

The Return

With time, understanding and new-found knowledge, I devised a training programme for myself to overcome my injury and return to match fitness...

Fast forward 18 months:

I found myself lining up against the Malaysia National Team and the Australian Hyundai A League Champions (Brisbane Roar) within the same week.

I had been signed by a club in the Australian Premier League and made club captain 4 months into my first season back.

  • I was fully fit (even fitter than pre-injury)
  • 100% pain free
  • Training 4 days a week
  • Getting paid to play

I just can't put into words how good that felt.

Finally, after 4 and a half years, I had my identity back.

I understand that I wasn't playing for Real Madrid or Barcelona, but to reach that level after being faced with never playing again was a huge deal for me, which tremendously defied the odds.

The Birth Of Matchfit Conditioning

Through my own journey, I realised that I had aquired alot of knowledge that could also be invaluable for other players to learn from and implement into their training.

So I started coaching players 1-1.

My focus was never on technique (there were plenty of coaches that could teach that). In my sessions we focused 100% on football specific strength & conditioning with mindset, adding the ball in where appropriate.

This was stuff 99.9% of players and coaches had never set eyes on. It was highly specialised and extremely efficient, with most of the players I was training being 'in-season' it was vital that we always trained smart.

I Quickly Realised That The Lack Of Knowledge Almost All Players Had In This Area Was Alarming, To Say The Least. I'm Including International Level Players In That.

So many footballers drop out of the game for reasons that can be resolved through strength & conditioning but they just don't know about it.

Many players never reach their potential because they don't know how to train to gain that vital edge over their competition.

There had to be a way to reach and influence more players and in a shorter space of time. I had to make this more accessible.

So I started sharing my knowledge on social media.

And That's Where Matchfit Conditioning Was Born...

I realised that there was a gaping hole in almost every players knowledge (especially below pro level) no matter their age - and the issue was global.

Being injured was an invaluable experience for me.

It gave me the key to realise what so many players are missing out on, it allowed me to put the Matchfit Training programme together with more than just theory.

It's given me the passion, dedication and drive to make Matchfit Conditioning The Worlds No.1 Online Football Strength & Conditioning Platform.

And that's only possible with the support of my amazing coaching team, enabling us to reach and support more players every single day.

Our Mission Is To Help 1 Million Footballers Transform Their Fitness Level & Mindset, By The Year 2025.

We specialise in guiding players to achieving the best physical & mental condition of their life on the football pitch, within 60 days.

What's In It For You?

Football specific strength & conditioning is an area still abandoned and deeply misunderstood.

Tens of thousands of players around the world become plagued by injury due to a lack of conditioning or from doing the wrong type of training. I've seen so many highly talented and skilful players lack the strength, speed and fitness to make the same impact they did at youth team level when they come up against 1st team players.

Many youth footballers get released from professional clubs not because of their lack of ability, but due to a lack of physicality and we aim to help these players develop the physical side of their game to take them to the next level.

We aim to attract the type of player who is determined to be the best and is willing to put in the extra time in the gym and on the training pitch. We aim to not only show you the type of training you should be doing but also educate you about why this is the most affective way.

Our unique programme design enables you to train completely by yourself with minimal equipment, placing your progress and level of control over your career firmly back into your hands.

Here's Just A Small % Of Players We Have Helped So Far

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Comments

Emma Brownlie - September 12, 2017

Hi, I’ve just read your blog above and I find your story very interesting! I’m currently playing for Hibernian Ladies, who recently competed in the group stages of the champions league, and we are aiming for a title winning season! I wondered if you would be keen to help me regarding the correct nutrition and strength and conditioning at different periods throughout the season?

Emma

Byron - May 19, 2017

I’ve been looking at your programs and I really like them but I don’t know what to choose

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