Featherstone Rovers head coach Andy Hay is using part of the off-season to further his education in Sports Science by spending three days at NFL side Seattle Seahawks.
Hay will be a guest of Dean Riddle, who is Head of Applied Science at the Seahawks and has previous experience of being Head of Strength and Conditioning at Leeds Rhinos, Castleford Tigers and other high-profile sporting clubs.
On his trip to Seattle, Hay said: “Dean and I go back a long way and this is a fantastic opportunity for me to spend time at a franchise that leads the way in many areas.
“They use the latest methods in terms of sports science, recovery and have state of the art facilities. Everything they do is cutting edge and I’m hoping I can bring back some of their methods to Featherstone Rovers and convert them to our sport. I will be looking at their operations from top to bottom and I’m really looking forward to the experience.”
Hay has been working hard behind the scenes ahead of the start of pre-season training at Featherstone, which begins in earnest early next month. He believes that with the players training themselves throughout the off-season, they will be coming back into training ready to rip into pre-season – creating what he calls a “full-time environment with part-time players”.
“The changes to the structure of the sport are really exciting but when the fixtures were released it really hit home how competitive the Kingstone Press Championship will be in 2015. We have high ambitions at Featherstone and to reach the Super 8s we need to be competitive in every department.
“The players have had two weeks off and came in last week to receive their off-season training schedules which they will be doing on their own for three weeks. We need a good pre-season under our belts to equip us for the year ahead and ensure we can compete with full time clubs.
“This means creating a full time environment with predominately part-time players who have work outside of Rugby League. The players will have to work hard during the 8 to 10 week pre-season period to ensure they hit the straps running in our first game against Hunslet Hawks on 15th February. The pre-season trial games that we are organising will help with our preparation and I’m looking forward to get started in November. We will be looking more closely too at recovery strategies and that is something that I’m hoping I can learn from my trip to Seattle Seahawks. I’m sure the commitment the players will show in pre-season will pay dividends in 2015.
“We are also working hard on recruitment for 2015 to strengthen the quality in our squad and we are hoping to make further announcements over the next couple of weeks regarding new signings. 2015 promises to be an exciting year and I’m pleased to hear that season tickets have sold well in the first week they have been on sale. As usual, the supporters loyalty to the club and their desire to see us do well is impressive.”