Professional Development Phase Coach Ryan Simmonds visited Brighton & Hove Albion last week to pick the brains of Head Coach Roberto De Zerbi and watch the Seagulls train.
Simmonds, who had a spell with Brighton during his playing career, remains in touch with his former employers and grasped the opportunity to gain more knowledge to aid him further in helping to develop the Under 18s at the Poundland Bescot Stadium.
De Zerbi was generous with his time and Simmonds was impressed with the intensity of their training sessions and grateful for the opportunity.
“It was a really good visit,” Simmonds said.
“Being a former player there myself, I’m still in contact a lot of the staff and players down there.
“Lewis Dunk was able to get me into training and watch how De Zerbi and his staff run the sessions.
“The day before the game, it was so intense, it was amazing to watch. These are world class players who have probably been used to not having an intense session but speaking to Lewis and Roberto, it’s what they do.
“They had a game against Ajax on the Thursday night and then on the Friday they were doing a double session. They did a recovery and then they trained out on the pitch. They’ve all bought into that because they know that they’re really fit.
“I was then fortunate to have an hour with the manager talking about football, his coaching journey, advice for a young coach like myself so it was a really good visit and something I will try and implement into my coaching.”
When Simmonds first arrived at the Poundland Bescot Stadium, he highlighted fitness as an area he wanted to improve.
The Under 18s have started to see the rewards of their improved fitness levels after their late comeback victory over Port Vale at the weekend so with that in mind and what he picked up from at Brighton, Simmonds reaffirmed his belief in upping the ante in training.
“I’m massively into the more that you put into your legs, the more you get out of it,” Simmonds explained.
“I don’t believe in having light days and until someone tells me scientifically that it’s right to have light days, I don’t understand it.
“As I saw at Brighton, the day before the game they’re doing an intense session so if it’s okay for them, it’s okay for us to do. I know it works so it’s trying to get the boys believing in it and after scoring a last-minute winner, they’re going to believe in it.”