SHAYNE MURPHY has left his role as the Lead Sports Scientist for Manchester City U23 to develop his own business.
The strength and conditioning coach joined City from Liverpool FC in January 2013 to work in the Youth Development Phase.
Now after 6? years at the Premier League Champions, which saw him work with both Men’s and Women’s teams, he has launched SDM Performance providing bespoke one-to-one training, online coaching and sport team consultation.
Murphy, a speaker and Advisory Board member for the Football Innovation Summit, explained: “There were a few reasons for the decision. It is not something that just happened but over time I felt the need for a new challenge. It started with a vision and now I’m looking to challenge myself both professionally and personally, outside of my comfort zone.
“I had noticed players starting to seek external advice and I wanted to be the one giving them that in-depth service.
“I wanted to really get into the nuts and bolts of the individual athlete which is very difficult to do when you are working across a squad of players.”
WORKING WITH EMERGING STARS LIKE FODEN AND SANCHO
Murphy’s journey up through the ranks at the Etihad Campus mirrors that of some of the best emerging talent in the world, as he worked with U17 World Cup winners Phil Foden, Joel Latibaudiere and Curtis Anderson, as well as Jadon Sancho and Brahim Diaz who were at City before joining Dortmund and Real Madrid respectively.
Murphy said: “The likes of Phil Foden, Joel Latibeaudiere and Luke Bolton to name a few were all U14 and I was fortunate to work with those players all the way until they transitioned into first-team football.
“I am sure there are lots of practitioners out there when they see players at 25/26 and wish they had been with them when they were 14 or 15 or 16.
“Well I was fortunate to have worked with these players at 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and then again when they progressed to the Under-23s.
“It was a nice experience for me to go through that process with the same group and see them progress. It challenged me as a coach to think about them more long term, there were a lot of lessons learned along the way.”
DEVELOPING STRATEGIES AROUND PHV
DEVELOPING STRATEGIES AROUND PHV
Many key lessons were learned through Murphy’s work around Peak Height Velocity, which enabled City to implement a number of strategies for monitoring players through their growth spurt.
He added: “When I first started, we tried to make training more specific to certain individuals in particular around growth and maturation and of course their PHV.
“We learned a lot from carrying out our own research, which we did on the players we had in our academy.
“There is a lot of good research out there but what research paper could I have read that can better informed me what it was like being a young player going through growth, maturation and development in a full-time program at Manchester City.
“Research does not tell you exactly what is going on in your own environment and that is the crucial part to understand.
“You cannot just take research and apply it to your setting. It gives you an indication, it gives you knowledge, it gives you understanding but it does mean you can just apply it into your practice.
“I know this because I made my own mistakes which I was able to learn from. “We looked at our injuries across a session, made an appropriate inclusion criterion and looked when these injuries occurred in relation to the players maturity offset.
“There was a team of people that helped me carry out the research namely Grant Downie, Matt Cook, Ellie Turner and Anthony Greenhouse. From the internal research we were able to carry out strategies that saw our injuries drop less every year because we got good at identifying which players we needed to look after.
“Some players you don’t need to do anything with because reducing their loads is just holding them back.
“Deciding how and when to de-load a player is the crucial part.
“It was very important for Manchester City Academy, very important for the players in it to ensure they have an appropriate program.
“We were all quite happy across the multi-disciplinary team how it was implemented. It is nice to see the majority of those players doing well from themselves in first-team football.
“It was important to get that right for the longevity of their careers.”
GAINING BUY-IN ACROSS MULTI-DISCIPLINARY TEAMS
There was great support from all at the Academy but telling coaches certain players cannot train or play is never easy, particularly when you are talking about a risk of injury.
Murphy believes being able to relate their decision-making process to internal research on the players at City was the key to getting buy in from the coaches and implementing important changes in practice.
He explained: “It all comes down to the relationship you build. I think at the time Scot McAllister, who was the physio, and I saw things the same way. We communicated a consistent message to the coaches and players.
“Coaches knew that if there were reasons for de-loading a player they were founded in good intent and with development in mind.
“Also, we weren’t quoting the research necessarily, we were relating to our own players, our own findings and what we learned about them.
“Coaches typically don’t want to know about research, it often doesn’t resonate. But when you start referencing your own players, players that coaches have already been involved with, players who are in their squad, they start listening.
“You get that buy in and that is the most important thing. You may know all the research and have all the knowledge but if you can’t affect positive change within people, then what is the point really.
“The most important thing is to help the people you are working with because that is your job.”
PREPARING U-23 PLAYERS FOR SENIOR FOOTBALL
Murphy’ s career saw him progress to the U23s for four seasons under head coach Simon Davies and more recently Paul Harsley.
He said: “When I moved up to work with the u23s squad, it was nice to work with the same group of players again only this time it was about transitioning to first-team football, so the stakes were higher.
“My attention was now on trying to prepare them both mentally and physically for first-team football.
“It wasn’t always about sets and reps. It was sometimes about creating challenges like making them design and implement a gym session out of limited equipment in a limited area because this might be the scenario in a few weeks.
“What I didn’t want was them thinking if the facility wasn’t as good as their ?norm?, that they couldn’t train or if no-one said there was gym, it didn’t mean they didn’t have to train.”
PRE-SEASON WITH GUARDIOLA AND ERITH
Murphy also had the opportunity to work with both the Men’s and Women’s senior team.
He said: I understand it is not that typical to have worked with U12-16s, U23s and then across both Men’s and Women’s teams for a period of time at the same club. I don’t take these opportunities for granted. I couldn’t have wished for it to happen at a better club than Manchester City.
“I got to experience and learn from so many great practitioners and coaches and of course players.”
Those great practitioners included City manager Pep Guardiola and head of human performance Sam Erith.
Murphy revealed: “Going to America on the Men’s pre-season tour was one of my highlights. Every day you were experiencing coaching from Pep Guardiola and his team, sport science provision from Sam Erith and his team and medical practice from Max Sala and Lee Nobes and their team.
“The knowledge and experience around the place was frightening. I absorbed everything I could and I have to thank all the staff for allowing me to be so involved in everything while I was there. I felt part of it all.”
Then this summer Murphy headed stateside again – this time with the Women’s team.
He added: “I completed the entire pre-season with the Women’s team and again it was great to be so involved in all the planning and implementing of training and gym sessions. It was a great experience for me and both the staff and players are amazing to work with.”
Murphy is already working with a number of footballers and athletes from different levels aged18-25, and consulting across teams.
He plans to take the lessons he has learned over the last decade into his new business venture and follow the advice he has handed to young players at City over the past years.
“The experience gained across all my previous roles and clubs has no doubt shaped my practice and way of thinking. I want to keep improving myself but more importantly the clients I’m working with.
“So far I’m really happy how things are going. I’m enjoying learning new skills and there are some promising ventures on the horizon.
“I guess I have to listen to what I’ve said to many players be brave, work hard and take the opportunities like they are the last one you’ll ever get
For further details on ;Shayne’s one-to-one service go to www.sdmperformance.com