Dave Williams re-joins the team at Harris & Ross Physiotherapy in Altrincham and Wigan following eight years of working in elite sport at the Manchester City FC Academy. During his time he witnessed huge changes both on and off the pitch, not least the changes of the training ground from a small community space to a world class facility, which most people only dream of working in.
At City I was Lead Physio working with the U18s, who are managed like a first team in terms of expectation, preparation and professionalism. The talent each individual must have in the club is a given, but the standard has increased year upon year as the bar set by the club continues to rise higher and higher. The expectation continues to grow and so players must respond to this. We expected every player to maximise their potential, much like at Harris & Ross, where we encourage and facilitate each patient to maximise their own potential, whether that be to hike up Mount Snowdon, run a marathon or to comfortably look after a grandchild. The goals can be vastly different, but the application is very similar.
Over my time at the club, I saw many a talent fail to fulfil their potential because of poor application. Talent alone is never enough to achieve greatness. Equally I have seen players with less talent, but with a fantastic application achieve much more in the game. I think the best players have a combination of the two and are prepared to aim high. Occasionally they come up short, but they have a persistence and resilience that can’t be taught which gets them to their end goal.
Prior to working at City, I had the great fortune to have Rob Harris as my mentor; he would challenge me repeatedly in pursuit of excellence every day. Rob would always seek perfection with his patients with some of the highest standards of care I have witnessed, this was one of the reasons I returned to the company when I decided to leave City. I have carried his mantra into my own rehabilitation and believe that everybody deserves the same level of care irrespective of who you are.
Injuries experienced with the Youth team were very similar to the first team with knee, ankle and occasional soft tissue injuries amongst the most common. We have to accept that people will get injured in sport given the nature of it and particularly because we were pushing players so hard in training to maximise their potential. Ultimately however, we know that building a resilience and toughness within the body, will help players deal with the future loads they will experience playing two games per week if they reach their dream of first team football.
When players required specialist surgical opinions, we used many of the same consultants that we use at Harris & Ross. They share the same high standards and expectations in correctly diagnosing and rehabilitating whatever the problem may be. It is great to continue such close relationships with specialists and surgeons who I can trust and who trust me, knowing that players or clients will be rehabilitated to the same high standards.