Crocked Warriors stars enjoy sleep cure
The return of two key players from injury in time to help Wigan Warriors reach the Challenge Cup Final has been credited to their beds!
You’d never find Sean O’Loughlin’s men sleeping on the job, but after the team has been battered with an unprecedented number of injuries this season, good rest and recuperation has been particularly important.
Understanding the clinical link between sleep and the recovery process, the team’s director of performance Mark Bitcon struck a deal with leading bed manufacturer Sealy at the start of the season to provide the squad with advice and counsel around healthy sleep, as well as top-of-the-range beds.
Sealy now acts as the club’s official “sleep partner”, even installing a relaxation bed in the club gym for players to use post-training; all with the aim of improving player’s sleep quality.
Effective rest also forms an increasingly important part of the team’s coaching regime, with a focus on refining players’ sleep habits and routines, while experts continuously monitor the players’ “snooze patterns” – which involves everything from subjective analysis and questionnaires, to electronic monitors that detect movement to the potential quality of sleep.
So now, alongside vigorous gym work-outs, scrum practice and ice baths, you are just as likely to see the players having a quick nap!
The commitment to serious down time has already paid dividends, both on-and-off the pitch, with player focus, performance, and stamina all benefiting.
However, the real win was player recovery and rehabilitation, a case in point being players John Bateman and Sam Tomkins.
Both suffered serious injuries during the 2017 season that saw them forced to undergo extensive rehabilitation before they could return to the field.
But, as well as an intense programme of physio and training, the club is crediting good quality sleep as a crucial aspect of their speedy recovery process.
And both players have since returned to the field, helping take Wigan to Wembley against Hull FC on Saturday.
The club believes sleep played an essential part in their recovery, with the beds providing the perfect environment for bodies and minds to recover.
Warriors commercial sales manager Dan Burton said: “John and Sam’s return to the team has been a great success and we were so grateful to Sealy for helping them through this period of injury, and regeneration.
“We are sure that Wigan’s opponents are not sleeping as well knowing that both players are back on the field!”
The Warriors are no stranger to unusual training methods. Its academy team training regime has included ballet lessons.