Jones: Sport science is imperative in the modern game

Town's head of sport science James Redden
Town's head of sport science James Redden

Hatters boss Graeme Jones has emphasised just how important the role of head of sports science is after appointing James Redden from Premier League Tottenham Hotspur recently.

The 30-year-old arrived to take over the position which had been left vacant since Jared Roberts-Smith moved to Stoke City with former boss Nathan Jones back in January.

Redden is working alongside strength and conditioning coach Elliott Plant and sports scientist Luke Sanders at Kenilworth Road, and on just how vital a position it is for Jones, he said: “It depends on the style of manager, if you don’t listen to the sports scientist and you constantly make football decisions and you’re not guided by statistics and numbers, which I am – I’ve worked that way all through the years – once the sports scientist gets my trust.

“I’ve worked with Richard Evans and Nick Davies at West Brom, and I think it’s imperative in modern coaching.

“You need to make sure that mentally and physically you are at your peak for every game, which isn’t easy in a three-game week, so I think it’s a vital role, but the experience is the most important thing.”

Since Jones finished playing back in 2006, he believes that the role behind the scenes has blossomed greatly, with a huge amount of importance placed on it these days.

He continued: “It’s grown massively. I can think of my time at St Johnstone in the Scottish Premier League.

“We had a training regime there that never changed for three years.

“It was Monday morning, training small-sided games, Tuesday morning and afternoon, double session, Wednesday off, Thursday morning and afternoon, double session, Friday start an hour later, play Saturday, in a league where you play every week.

“Me personally, I can think of some weeks where I felt strong as an ox, and other weeks where I felt really, really weak.

“I didn’t have that strength, that power and that running ability in my body, so that gives you an indication of maybe I over-worked, maybe I wasn’t feeling great – in terms of illness and things like that, as bio-rhythms come into account.

“Now, a sports scientists role is to try and make sure you peak every Saturday or every Tuesday, and to do that for every individual is not easy.

“You have to understand the physical aspect, but you have to have great experience in order to pitch that correctly, and James has got that, so I think it’s vital going forward.”

With Luton now in the second tier of English football, then Jones admitted his new recruit will find it far tougher than his previous job at Spurs, but has every faith he has the ability to cope.

He added: “You can’t have a set routine in the Championship.

“You can in the Premier League and you can in the Scottish Premier League in most weeks, because you play once a week, so it’s a bit easier to plan.

“The Championship you have to be more adaptable. You play Friday night, you can play Monday night or Wednesday, maybe back at three o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, so the weeks change.

“The periodisation is really important and I’m delighted with what we’ve recruited, because James has got that experience to deal with it and pitch it correctly, because every game is worth three points and we need to be competitive.

“So I’m really happy we’ve got him in.”