Your Premier Jamaican Sports Portal
One On One
Fitness guru Samuels working to prevent injuries
THIRTY-SEVEN-YEAR-OLD Junior Samuels is the man responsible for getting all of Jamaica's national football teams as fit as a fiddle to be able to compete effectively as a unit, since 1999.
He is also the man responsible for whipping that well-oiled Portmore United machinery that swept everything in front of them in 2005.
By virtue of his outstanding work in the national programme - where injury ratio has fallen - he has proven to be one of the most accomplished physical trainers in Jamaica.
One On One caught up with Samuels moments before he prepared the Reggae Boyz for the game against Ghana and England on May 29 and June 3, respectively.
QUESTION: How did you become a physical trainer?
JUNIOR SAMUELS: This is something that has been neglected. This is the caring side of the players so I put myself there so I can care more for them.
Q: Tell us about your educational background as a trainer?
J. S.: I have a JFF Level one and two training certificate. I also went to England for continuing studies at the Lilleshall Centre of Excellence.
I have a coaching diploma from the Semmelweis Univer-sity in Hungary.
Q: You are also a qualified football coach, why not take up the coaching aspect of football?
J.S.: I used to coach at youth level and won many championships, but we have lost too many players through injuries because of their preparation and I wanted to correct that.
Q: You have been to several countries, how would you compare the general attitude of Jamaican players?
J.S.: One thing for sure, we need to get more professional.
The whole approach is not to be lazy if you know what you want. But most of it is facilities and facilities help people to behave in a certain way.
Q: What are your functions as a physical trainer?
J. S: My function is to make sure that the players are in good physical condition and that the coaches have no problems.
I also do a lot of one-on-one rehab sessions with injured players that allow them to trust you more.
Then, there is the technical training, correcting techniques, human genetics and develop-ment of players? muscle and strength and chiropractic, which is the alignment of the body.
Q: How do you compare our players physically to international players?
J.S.: The training is about speed and pressure so I have to put them through vigorous exercises to get them on par. Some wilt under the pressure while others are getting there.
Q: What is it that they need to really develop physically?
J.S.: Proper nutrition. It?s a big part in the players? lifestyle. Without proper nutrition it will be difficult. When compare to other youth players, on the nutrition side we are far behind. Nutrition helps to get your endurance capacity.
Q: Oftentimes the Reggae Boyz?s attacks seem disjointed. Is it because of their lack of fitness to go forward and backwards constantly?
J. S.: I shouldn?t think so. If you look around the world not many teams attack with a lot of people, but we have improved and are getting there. Sometimes, it depends on the coach?s instructions.
Q: What would you love to see implemented in Jamaica?
J.S.: We need more physical trainers because it?s a very sensitive area. Most of the training methods are not up to scratch.
If we get more physical trainers to adopt the method that we have, by the time the players come to the national programme I would have less problems.
- Howard Walker