Integrated High performance, Science & Research

Ian Beasley – “it’s not about you and your pride. It’s about making sure the player is playing and safely.” 

15 May 2023



Ian Beasley – “it’s not about you and your pride. It’s about making sure the player is playing and safely.” 

Last week, I invited Ian on the Training Science Podcast.
🍏 Apple podcast
🔊 Spotify

Ian is one of a kind. I always enjoy our chats, from performance and medical stories to life pieces of advice. We discussed his experience working in top football clubs including Arsenal and Chelsea, and how he deals with things that go a bit out of control, namely when players ask for external feedback/diagnostics and want to be treated/rehabbed outside of the club – which is always uncomfortable for everyone at the club.

About diagnostics

Ian: I’ve no problem with asking other people. And the reason I do that is I need to make sure I’m doing the best for the player, to protect the player, to protect me, to protect the club. If that means making sure your players return to play safely, then you will try everything and anything to make that happen. But that’s my job, too. And that sometimes means asking other people what they think, you know, am I doing the right thing, when you’re in a football club, it’s relatively isolating. It’s not like the old days when you’d work with a group of other doctors, nurses, and other health professionals, say in the hospital, where opinions are swapped on a daily basis. When you’re in football, you tend to drive into the training ground, the door shuts, and it’s you. So you’d best have an open mind. And be sure about things.

There’s nothing wrong with that. In the end, it’s not about you and your pride. It’s about making sure the player is playing and safely. 

About a player asking to rehab outside

Ian: Don’t get me wrong, Martin, I feel just as uncomfortable about a lot of this as everybody else does. You don’t feel comfortable. If, if you’re allowing someone else to have control, you don’t feel comfortable. If you think someone, although you think you’re right, someone else might not think you’re dead, right? It doesn’t make you feel comfortable. It never makes you feel comfortable. But you do have to analyze what that means.

You’re probably one of the brighter people at your school, you go to medical school, you study hard, and you have a qualification that is looked up to by a lot of people. So it isn’t easy then to start having to give away everything. You know, I thought I was right. I thought I was doing this right. But this player wants to go back to his physio in wherever he comes from. Fair enough. I might want to do the same. If I was playing too. I think you have to just be honest, you have to be open. Yeah, that’s fine.

We’ll look, we’ll come and visit you when you’re doing the rehab. We’ll make sure everything’s going okay. You can report back to the club, everything is going okay. You can discuss with the therapists that they’re going to see, or the surgeon that they’re going to see exactly what the situation is and what the actions should be. So that you’re aware of what’s going on.

Your job is to make sure psychologically, and physically, the player gets the best out of it all.

Now, you know, sometimes you’re a club that doesn’t have big resources, you know, don’t have loads and loads of physios and sports scientists running around, you know, waiting for the next rehab patient. You might have one, maybe two physios working with the first team, and your drive is the next game. You may be in a relegation fight. That’s the focus of the team and that plan is the focus. Therefore, maybe this long-term rehab player may be well served going somewhere else for a few weeks and getting a different perspective, and, you know, enjoying a different climate might be. So you have to be honest, definitely open.

Never easy because your ego doesn’t necessarily like it. But guess what, it’s not about you.

More on this:

Chap 5 of the EGOals book – Calibrate your EGO to the reality: Mission first. Mission first. Mission first.

Pauline Gamerre: “At some point, everyone is drawn to the field. To the light.”

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