Throughout my coaching career, I've always tried to keep an open mind regarding anything that could positively influence my players or my coaching. This causes a bit of lost time chasing along a few dead ends, but that's the way I'm made.
With this mindset, I immediately accepted an approach from Alan Pearson when he offered to explain and demonstrate the benefits of the SAQ Pro-gramme. Happily this path was to prove anything but a dead end. I would go as far as to say that the SAQ Programme is the most influential performance-enhancing tool that I have seen in the last five years.
Without a doubt, it has become extremely diffi¬cult, if not impossible, for a player to reach the pro-fessional level without genuine leg speed. The SAO Programme enables the player to achieve substantial gains in leg speed and power — horizontally, verti¬cally and laterally — in the space of one off-season. I introduced the SAQ Programme on a trial basis during the1996 season at Leicester Tigers RFC and it soon became obvious that the players were bene¬fiting both physically and psychologically.
Continued use of the SAQ Programme can trans-form a 'player' into an 'athlete' — a player with much improved balance, agility and acceleration. In short, the kind of player we are all looking for. How won-derful then that we can now take our gifted 'players' and help them achieve the additional status of gifted 'athletes'.
In rugby, there continues to be debate about the so-called 'gulf' between the northern and southern hemispheres. In one area though, there can be no debate. The presence of the SAQ Programme, with its accompanying qualified SAO Trainers puts the northern hemisphere, or at least the UK, a long way in front.
It was a good day for me, my career, and, hopefully my players when I was introduced to this simple, sensible, and enjoyable programme.
Currently Director of Rugby for NSW Waratahs
World Cup Winning Coach, Australia (1991)
Director of Rugby, Leicester Tigers (1998)
We have used SAQ Training and SAQ Equipment since 1996, as a core part of our programmes to develop the speed and agility of our players. The concepts and drills of the SAQ Programme are scientifically based, practically researched and easily adaptable to different sports. Above all, the players enjoy them, which makes their effectiveness even greater.
Alan Pearson has always had an eye for fresh and different ideas, and I constantly pick up new drills and methods from talking to him. It is great to see this new book, which compiles so many of the tried and tested methods used with our players and many other club sides. I have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone interested in improving the performance of their players — whether at amateur, professional or international level.
Try it ... it works! And I guarantee that you will enjoy it.
National Fitness Adviser
Over the last 25 years hockey has changed more than any other team-sport. From natural (muddy) grass to the different types of artificial surfaces, new revolu-tions in stick materials and goalkeeping equipment and major changes in the rules that govern the game.
However with regard to the physical preparation of players for the 'new' sport, a change in attitude and approach has been very slow. When Alan Pearson introduced SAO Training to Fyffe's Leicester I instantly knew that this was the way forward, the way to get my team ready for the changed physical demands of the game. Firstly, all drills are sports-specific, the leg speed, power, balance, nimble foot-work, acceleration and upper-body strength required by hockey players are all addressed. They can all be practised with or without a stick and ball!
Over the last couple of years I have introduced and used SAQ at all levels in the sport from juniors up to the seasoned premier (international) league player. The feedback I get from all the players is the same: it does make a big difference to their perfor-mance, and they enjoy the sessions. The enjoyment stems from the fact that there is enormous variety in the drills. Programmes can be tailor-made for both the individuals and the team, even if the fitness levels within the team are different.
SAQ Hockey covers all aspects needed for our fast and powerful sport and is the first book specifically written for it. I would like to say to you: 'Read it, work out a programme and introduce it to your players. You will see them get hooked on it.'
Hounslow & Ealing 1st coach
and Coaching Director
Southern Counties H.A. Coach and Adviser
In Ireland, our international rugby players have used SAQ methods for some time, so when the oppor-tunity arose for the international hockey squad to experience a full SAO session, we jumped at it.
There was an element of raw curiosity, a chance to see for ourselves what all the excitement was about. As coaches, we've all experienced the 'great new idea' syndrome. Within minutes it was clear that SAO was different. From that day on, it was obvious that the physical side of our training would never be the same again.
For hockey coaches, SAQ offers an irresistible combination: injury prevention, increased power, improvements in speed and a structured method for players to develop rapid changes of direction under control. It's ideal for hockey, very game-related and offers enormous variety to keep our players interested.
The reaction to its introduction has been hugely positive, and I can safely say that players of all ages from junior school teams to senior international panellists have really enjoyed and benefited from the hockey-specific SAO programme. I'd encourage anyone in hockey to try SAQ and hope that it will be as enjoyable and effective for you as it has been for the teams that I've been involved with.
FIH Supercoach Coach
to Irish Women's Hockey Team
Speed, agility, quickness and multi-directional explosion are key components of the physical demands required of a cricket player. All aspects of cricket, including fielding, bowling, batting and wicketkeeping, require the ability to move with incredible speed, power and precision. The SAQ Programme has been implemented by Essex County Cricket for over 5 years. Not only is it effective, it is also challenging and motivational for players who have not only enjoyed but have also benefitted from this new approach to training and conditioning for Cricket. Alan Pearson's position-specific and practical approach to cricket, which is scientifically based yet delivered in a simple, effective manner, makes it suitable for all cricketers from amateurs to seasoned internationals. I would encourage all coaches to read this most informative book and introduce the concept and drills to their training regime.
Graham Gooch, Essex CC, England, International
Player, Captain, Coach, England Selector
Since the cricket revolution of the late seventies and early eighties, the game of cricket at all levels has evolved into a dynamic contest. Many aspects of the game are about the ability of the players to rapidly decelerate, redirect and accelerate as well achieving high speed.
How does the coach increase the athletic performance of his players to respond to the challenges of the game in the twenty-first century? The answer to this question is akin to most innovations in sports coaching, that is, necessity is the mother of invention.
The innovative approach of the SAQ method of warm-up and the development of cricket skills throughout the activity sets in this book will enhance the ability of the team, the individual and the coach. Coaches who adopt the SAQ approach to their cricket coaching will be the lighthouse coaches for the next generation.
Ron Cochrane, Director of Sport, Brisbane
Grammar School Australia
Australian Level 3 Accredited Coach CA 400305
Member of the Development Team for the
Australian Institute of Sport Cricket Academy
I was introduced to Alan Pearson and SAQ over five years ago and my goal was to bowl as fast as possible. I introduced SAQ principles to my training and conditioning programme and, with Alan's ongoing support, over a period of time I increased my bowling speed by 1 Omph. Not only was the programme effective, it was challenging, interesting and, due to the variations and progressions, it was enjoyable. I believe that the SAQ Cricket Book is one of the most important training and conditioning tools in the world of cricket. I recommend it to all coaches and players, whatever age and standard.
Steffan Jones, Somerset CC.
Northampton CC and Wales
I started working with SAQ with my playing colleague Steffan Jones. I found that the training made sense and was more related to the cricket-specific movements required while playing the game.
Having seen Alan Pearson at work and having had the good fortune to listen to his invariably lucid and perceptive information on mobility, fitness and conditioning, I am pleased to note that he has now committed his thoughts to print. SAQ Football will be a most useful resource for technicians in the game and will, I feel sure, have an undoubted impact on the overall fitness of players, from top international professionals to those indulging in the great game of football as a recreational activity Alan Pearson's well tried and carefully thought out theories are to be commended.
National Coach and Technical Director,
Scottish Football Association
Having been a professional player for over 20 years I have seen many trainers and many training programmes — years of old school, prosaic programmes. My experience with Big Al (Alan Pearson) and SAQ fundamentally changed the way I looked at my training. The SAQ Programme is without doubt one of the reasons I still maintain my current position in the Premier League at nearly 37 years old. With continued use, I feel able to continue my career well into my 40s.
Aston Villa, Liverpool, West Ham, Manchester
City, Portsmouth, England
As a Chartered Physiotherapist and Sports Scientist my job in professional football is to oversee injury prevention strategies, post-injury rehabilitation and the fitness conditioning of my players.
The 'fundamental skills and movement' taught through SAQ-based drills underpin all these goals and provide a framework upon which players can condition themselves to play their chosen sport. Consequently, I have actively promoted and utilised the SAQ principles in my work from junior football players to Premier League and International players.
In Alan Pearson, SAQ have somebody with unequalled enthusiasm and foresight to think 'outside the box' to ensure that the principles of SAQ underpin the fundamental movements of all sports, in a sports-specific manner.
I highly recommend SAQ Football as a resource tool but once you have an in-depth knowledge of the principles of SAQ training, the greatest resource tool is your imagination and your understanding of SAQ principles allied to your chosen sport.
Peter Friar MSc MCSP BSc (Hons)
Head of Sport Medicine, Sunderland AFC
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