Doha: ‘Aspire in the World Fellows’ launched its first research project with a select group of members coming together in Doha for two days to deliberate and charter the course of the new initiative, Fellows Research Work.
The research project is the new stage in the operations and work of Aspire in the World Fellows — the world’s leading community for youth football performance and science development, which comprises a group of international football experts, led by Aspire Academy’s Director of Football Performance and Science, Professor Valter Di Salvo.
Twelve participants from clubs and national associations joined Aspire staff from the Football Performance and Science for the launch phase of the Fellows Research Gathering in a two-day event, held on the December 4 and 5 at the Aspire Academy.
The Fellows Research Gathering turned a new page in Aspire in the World Fellows’ objective to enhance youth football as a whole, from the gathering and working together of expert coaches, physiotherapists, football directors and staff from various universal international football clubs and football associations who form part of the Aspire Fellows community.
The project aims to help members get a deeper and more specific understanding of various footballing training methodologies by engaging members in scientific research. The knowledge is then used to study and implement practical solutions to improve football training, particularly among young athletes and to contribute to advancing the study of football science.
The initial research study work will be on the following three topics, Talent Identification (Nature vs Nurture), Strength Methodology (Why, when and how) with the third one being, From Youth to Senior (how to manage the leap)
Speaking about the initiative, Professor Valter Di Salvo, said: “Aspire in the World Fellows brings together experts from various international clubs to share expertise and know-hows in the field of football training and development. Each year, we aim to improve our ‘Fellows Community’. We do so by conducting annual surveys, taking in and building on the feedback we receive. With this Research Work, our goal is to produce three scientific studies from our Aspire Fellows Community introducing a new concept of working together which is the new stage we have moved to after the sharing stage we started off with.
“By launching the Fellows Research Gathering, we’re turning a new page in our history to benefit from the expertise of our fellows and help advance the research industry in the football field.”
Speaking at the event, Corne Groenendijk, from Dutch football club, Ajax FC, said: “This project is a great boost for people who work with professional clubs and encourages them to do more research. It can be challenging to push oneself when it feels like you’re the only one doing it, but when we see all these experts gathered in one room and all ready to work, it gives us that push that we need to go from theory to implementation.”
Cristina Fink from American club Philadelphia Union added: “Each research topic has been assigned to four various groups, i.e. different football clubs, and each group is diverse enough to have different voices which I think is very important in science because it brings about new perspectives and insights.”
‘Aspire in the World Fellows’ has developed rapidly since it was established in 2014 by Aspire Academy. As well as regular gatherings in Doha and events in Europe to develop their ideas, members are supported by a cutting-edge online portal enabling the spread of best practice, trends and the latest thinking. Taken together, the various elements of the community’s activity provide a powerful platform to support the broader development of football around the world.
The online platform encourages participants to communicate regularly with one another and take part in the Fellows Research Gathering at summits such as Aspire Academy’s Global Summit for Football Performance & Science, which is organised annually as part of the world-class event, ASPIRE4SPORT Congress & Exhibition in Doha and other European capitals, to push their ideas forward. Topics discussed at these meetings feature important issues in football training such as training load, mental enhancement, training plan strategies and integrated training methodology.