Sport Science Makes A Difference

1st September 2002

Brentford’s success, with a team whose average age is just over 21, has provided another example of the trend for clubs to tap into the field of sports science.

Their first-team coach is Roberto Forzoni, a former non-league player who has supplemented his football coaching qualifications with a diploma in sports psychology and a masters in sports sciences. In an interview on the official club website, Forzoni provides an intriguing insight into his work behind the scenes in improving a player’s mental approach.

Forzoni, echoing the philosophy of all specialists in this field, said: ‘Everyone in the Second Division deserves to be there because that is their standard. So who is going to win it? What makes the difference? It is not going to be going out and spending £2 million on one player. It is going to be the team that’s mentally strong.’

One aspect of his work is his posters – bearing messages such as ‘Self. Team. What side of the fence are you on?’ – that are displayed above the urinals in the dressing-room toilet. On Brent ford’s coach trips for away matches, Forzoni attempts to get players in the right frame of mind with specially compiled videos. The film he put together for the recent match at Huddersfield Town, for example, incorporated clips of the team with the rousing section in the film Gladiator in which Russell Crowe says: ‘The only way we can do this is if we stick together.’