Exclusive Interview with Football Fitness Coach Simone Lucchesi
- Sport Careers Agency client Simone Lucchesi now working at Leyton Orient as Head Sport Scientist & Fitness Coach
- Previously worked for New York Cosmos, Sampdoria and Lazio
- Discusses working with star names including Raul, Di Canio, Pelle and Mustafi
- Feels that English players spend more time working on gym strength than their foreign counterparts
- Picks out Raul as the best player he has coached
~COMPANYNAME~] elite candidate Simone Lucchesi is a well-travelled man, having worked with professional clubs in Italy, USA, Serbia and England.
Now Head Sport Scientist & Fitness Coach at Leyton Orient, Lucchesi has previously been in charge of strength and conditioning at various clubs in his homeland includng Serie A giants S.S. Lazio and UC Sampdoria as well as the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League.
Simone took time out from his busy schedule at Orient to discuss all things football and fitness related with writer Matt McGarvey.
Q- You studied Physical Education at university and hold a Masters in Sport Sciences & Technics- have you always wanted to work in football?
A- Yes, I grew up as a big football fan,supporting Lazio. I always wanted to have a career in football.
Q- Having been involved in football fitness coaching for over 17 years, have you noticed any major changes in the way clubs approach conditioning and training?
Yes a lot,when I started in Italy the majority of time was spent in strength development- now we follow current trends in aerobic development, lactate etc.
Q- During your career you have worked alongside notable managers including Ciro Ferrara (Sampdoria) and Giovanni Savarese (New York Cosmos). How important is it for a senior fitness coach to have a good relationship with the first team manager?
A- Very important- often you will find that managers will want to work with their own staff, including the fitness coaches, so the relationship must be very tight.
Q- Over the course of your career you have worked with elite level international players including Gonzalo Raul, Marcos Senna, Paolo Di Canio,Sergio Romero, Mauro Icardi, Graziano Pelle and Shkodran Mustafi.
Do you deal with these big name players any differently than some of the less well-known players you have worked with?
There aren't any big changes in term of fitness development between individuals when you first take over a new team as at the beginning training will be the same for everybody. After a while when you have built up better knowledge about individual players and their bodies then you can start working more specifically.
The main difference when working with big name players is the extra responsibility - if you have a key player injured then it is a big disadvantage for your team.
Q- From a fitness coach's point of view, who is the best player that you have worked with?
A- I have had always a great relationship with my players, but I remember Raul at 37 years old working with great intensity and passion everyday.
He took great care of his body in terms of injury prevention, food, massage,and recovery.
Q- You arrived at New York Cosmos in 2013- did you notice any major differences between US and Italian soccer?
A- I was lucky at the Cosmos because we were able to build our own methodology from the beginning.
We were the first Cosmos team after a 29 year absence so were able to set-up our own processes.
Q- This summer you were appointed Head Sport Scientist and Fitness Coach at Leyton Orient this summer. How are you finding working in English football?
A- In England we do a lot more football work in training and less in terms of fitness.
I have also noticed that players in England like to spend time in the gym and develop big msucles. We have to consider whether this is important for football.
I like to develop quickness, agility, reaction,balance and power.
Q- If you could give one piece of advice to a young fitness coach looking start a career in football, what would it be?
A- You must accept responsibility when the team is losing and ask yourself things like is the team fitness level too low, are the players running enough, are they too tired?
It is also important when your team is winning to be able to enjoy the success without claiming to be the best coach.
I believe that this balance is important in life as well as football.
Q- Now that you have achieved your goal of finding a club in the UK, what are your main career goals for the future?
A- I don't have any more set goals.
My first ambitions were to work at Lazio and in Serie A which I have done. Then I wanted to work in the UK which I am doing now.
Having been lucky enough to achieve these goals already I am happy to welcome any new challenges which come along without stressing about my next move.