United turn to yoga to help performance on the pitch

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Young footballers from Sheffield United’s academy are being trained in yoga in an initiative to improve their performance.

Twice weekly classes are provided by Sheffield Yoga Centre at Walkley as part of the regular training schedule for the 18 to 21-year-olds.

“All of the scholars at the academy undertake daily stretching, mobility and stability work to improve their movement patterns, strength and control,” said head of sports sciences and sports medicine Tony Denton.

“Recently we approached Frances Homewood, the director of Sheffield Yoga Centre, to see if she could provide yoga as a way of delivering a more specific and beneficial discipline to help the players’ performance on the pitch. After several yoga sessions taught by Frances, we can see the improvement in players and they can feel they are increasing flexibility and control.”

More football clubs are using the ancient practice to help with breathing and flexibility. Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs says that yoga has helped him sustain his career.

Frances, an Iyengar yoga teacher for over 25 years, said: “Players experience fewer injuries and recover more quickly when they do yoga. We are

really pleased that the academy have seen the extra benefits available here and we hope the boys will have something they can use throughout their careers”