Stoke City Girls are undergoing an 18-month fitness plan to kick-start their careers as young footballers.
From under 14s to the under 16s they have been taking part in athletic plyometric work to help their speed, fitness and teaching them to check their stride before striking the ball.
Director of football, Andy Holmes, has brought in City of Stoke- on-Trent athletics coach Morris Fox. He is working with the girls, analysing and providing them with drills to help the footballers speed and trying to get them moving in a different way so they become more efficient on the pitch.
The girls are 12 months into the plan and Holmes has started to see progression.
“Over this period of time the girls have got quicker,” he said.
“Over 30 yards some of the girls have taken nearly a second off that time, which is quite a lot.
“Some of the girls will be with us for two to three years so hopefully we can get them a lot quicker.”
Athletics also helps the girls with strength building. Fox has to use different exercises with the footballers but still believes athletics training can be used and be beneficial in other sports.
Fox said: “I think athletics is fundamental to all sports, but especially for football.
“Athletics teaches you speed, discipline and movement. These are all things that the girls are looking to learn.
“I specifically will be teaching them speed and how to be more efficient when they move. They might not initially get quicker but they will move better.”