By NICHOLAS MURRAY – email@example.com
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Arguably one of the most underrated parts of building a successful squad, and in turn putting together a successful season, is having players consistently available and fresh throughout the year.
As the Charlotte Independence’s Strength & Conditioning Coach, John Lytton is as the forefront of that task for Coach Mike Jeffries. While the Independence’s inaugural season saw just enough ups and downs for the club to narrowly miss out on a playoff place, the squad that was available to Jeffries week-in and week-out remained remarkably consistent thanks in part to Lytton’s efforts.
“What I’m proud of is really how not only the guys continued to compete day-in and day-out, but how we were able to allow every player at every moment to be available to compete,” Lytton told CharlotteIndependence.com’s Jillian Fay recently. “My job is only a success if players have the opportunity to add value to the team, in whatever role they play, by being healthy and in peak performance. If they’re not available because of an injury, if they’re not available because of fitness, if they’re not available because of fatigue, that falls back on my plate. Fortunately, I think we managed the season well enough.”
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As with many of his contemporaries around the USL, Lytton has a big task on his hands to make sure the Independence’s players remain in good health over the course of the season. Ahead of this season, however, he has been able to work with a number of the club’s players over the past few months, specializing their workouts to make sure they’re getting the right balance of work and rest that will allow them to perform well throughout the 27-week USL regular season.
“Offseason is really the time we can work on individual needs much more with guys,” said Lytton. “This is the time we can create specific resilience from injuries by working through faulty movements and weaknesses that every player has, as well as being able to develop different physical aspects that are going to make the players a lot more effective at carrying out the technical staff’s game plan.”
Base camp for the offseason program has been Performance Unlimited, of which Lytton is the Owner and Director. Specializing in soccer-specific training, Lytton has also worked with the Charlotte Eagles, and also local recreational and academy programs looking to gain insight into high-level performance. As a former player, Lytton received his B.S. in Sports Medicine & Exercise Science from Belhaven University, where he played collegiately, and then came to Charlotte to meet with Athlete By Design Founder Jeremy Boone.
From that meeting Lytton moved to Charlotte, and in 2010 Performance Unlimited was founded. Now, he’s aiming to help the Independence push on and challenge in the USL’s Eastern Conference in the upcoming season, and continue to grow an already popular sport across the region.“It’s important that we get the community involved in supporting the Independence the same way the organization wants to support the community,” said Lytton. “The players and coaches are already going out and having their hands in the development process within the youth organizations, going out and making sure that they’re a part of the process. I know that the entire staff is on the same page, in order to really help take Charlotte soccer to the next level. And it’s nice to be able to have it both ways, where the community builds a support for the guys doing this for a living.”