Morecambe FC’s fitness coach on keeping the Shrimps in tip-top condition

Morecambe FC's fitness and rehab coach Chris Squirrell. Picture: Matt Rushton
Morecambe FC's fitness and rehab coach Chris Squirrell. Picture: Matt Rushton

Chris Squirrell admits he is in his dream job.

A local lad, Morecambe’s fitness and rehabilitation coach is a key part of boss Jim Bentley’s tight-knit backroom team.

Chris Squirrell with Shrimps boss Jim Bentley and physio Simon Farnworth. Picture: Matt Rushton

Chris Squirrell with Shrimps boss Jim Bentley and physio Simon Farnworth. Picture: Matt Rushton

Having originally started out with the club’s community scheme when a sports science student at University of Cumbria, the former Central Lancaster High School pupil is about to enter his third season of making sure the Shrimps players are in tip-top shape.

“It’s ideal for me,” says the 28-year-old.

“It’s what I’ve always wanted to do.

“It was a good stepping stone with the community on the other side of the ground before my opportunity to come and work with the first team.

“It’s a pretty blank canvas here so I’ve set it up how I want it to work for me.

“Touch wood it’s going well so far.”

Squirrell’s work covers a wide remit and is increasingly key to what Bentley and his assistant Ken McKenna put together on a daily basis.

Gone are the days of fitness work being confined to a few hard weeks of pre-season with Squirrell’s opinions and data a big part of what happens on the training ground at Morecambe High School.

“It’s probably all year round to be honest now.” he says, speaking from behind the desk of a tight office at the Globe Arena.

“We concentrate on certain things at this time (of the year) and then top them up at certain times within the season.

“It’s all year round where I have a daily input into what the gaffer and Ken want to put on.

“All the staff are dead open to that sort of information and it helps us decide what we do, when we do it and why.”

Nurtrition, fitness, strength and conditioning are all worked on and monitored by Squirrell with the Lancastrian feeling improvements are being made all the time.

“I’m now going into my third season and we’ve added new things in my role every year,” he says.

“The place looks a lot different to how I picked it up.

“We’d like to think we improve certain things every year.

“We get new technology every now and again and we’ve got loads of new equipment gym wise.

“We’re improving all the time.”

It all means that keeping the Shrimps players in the best possible condition is a pretty hi-tech operation in 2015.

“On a daily basis we’ll use a simply heart rate system that all the lads have to wear for every training session,” says Squirrell.

“First thing in a morning before they set off from various places across the north west they have a survey that they have to fill in too.

“It lets me know how they are in a morning before we even get access to them.

“So when the gaffer rings me in a morning I can tell him who’s feeling what or if anyone’s ill so I can let him know before he even speaks to them if there’s anyone missing from his sessions or if there’s anyone we might need to change their work for the day.

“Those are the main two things that we do. We have simple format for strength work and there’s individual exercises based on problem areas and injury history.”

But how do the players react to being monitored seemingly 24 hours a day, seven days a week?

Squirrell says that as professionals the players know it is a massive part of their every day routine and one that most importantly of all, seems to be working.

“It’s just part of their routine,” he says.

“It’s what’s normal for them when they come into work.

“Sometimes they might forget to do certain things but we do ask them to do quite a few things.

“On the whole it gets done daily. It’s a good little routine we’ve got going.”