Three years of the Training Ground Guru Podcast

Guests during the three seasons of the TGG Podcast

Guests during the three seasons of the TGG Podcast

WE started off by meeting Gary Rowett and his trusted lieutenants Joe Carnall and Dave Carolan at the Belfry golf course in Warwickshire. Our most recent episode was with Andreas Georgson from his office at Malmö FF in southern Sweden.

The Training Ground Guru Podcast, in association with Hudl, is three years old and has featured 37 guests, each with their own interesting story to tell from behind the scenes in pro sport.

There have been players (Stewart Downing and Karen Bardsley), managers (Russell Martin, the late Gerard Houllier, Emma Hayes, Danny Cowley and Rowett), Academy Managers (Gregg Broughton, Nick Cox, Jon Pepper and Alex Inglethorpe), performance leaders (Tony Strudwick, Dave Reddin, Dave Alred, Paul Balsom and Owen Eastwood), coaches (Davide Ancelotti, Michael Beale, Eddie Jones, Brian Ashton and Dan Micciche), analysts and data scientists (Mariela Nisotaki, Mladen Sormaz and Luke Bornn) and lots of Technical Directors or equivalent (Victor Orta, Chris Ramsey, Dan Ashworth, Les Ferdinand, Marijn Beuker, Phil Giles, Laurence Stewart, Francis Cagigao and Georgson).

Josh Schneider-Weiler has produced all of the episodes and presented half of them, too. He's the voice you hear at the beginning and end of every show.

"All our guests have been pioneers in their respective fields, whose work often goes unnoticed among fans and mainstream media," he said. "It's been an absolute pleasure to shine a light on their work and find out more about them.

"The podcast is a celebration of those people who drive football forwards and it's gratifying that so many listeners have been interested in them too. For the fourth year of the pod we're hoping to do more episodes on location, to bring you even closer to the game."

The podcast wouldn't have been possible without the support of the video and analytics firm Hudl, which has sponsored the first three years and who will remain on board for the fourth.

Simon Collinson, Senior Director for Elite Marketing at Hudl, said: "We are so pleased to partner with the Training Ground Guru to provide key insights from leading personalities in the world of high performance.

"Hudl is keen to help coaches, analysts and other practitioners continue their professional development and the podcast has been a great way of doing that. We're looking forward to hearing from more great guests in season four."

Here are our five most downloaded episodes, in ascending order:

5. DAN ASHWORTH (December 2020)

In Episode #20, Dan Ashworth gave an in-depth and erudite explanation of his role as a Technical Director. "I sit in the middle of a wheel and my job is to bring together seven departments, connecting those spokes," he said.

Ashworth was Technical Director at Brighton for more than three years and is expected to take up the same role with Newcastle United at the end of the season.

You can listen to the full episode below.

4. NICK COX (June 2020)

In Episode #15, Nick Cox told us about 'Youth Development the Manchester United Way.' United's Academy Director told us about some of the key principles that underpin the club's famed youth programme.

"We have to create a world where it feels like we don’t have resource," he said. "Without resource, you become incredibly innovative and creative."

You can listen to the full episode below.

3. MARIJN BEUKER (February 2021)

In Episode #23, Marijn Beuker told us how AZ Alkmaar - a club with a smaller wage bill than Bournemouth - were managing to challenge for the top honours in Holland.

During an hour of insight the Sport Development Director talked about implicit v explicit learning, data science and why the word 'tactics' is banned at the younger ages at the club. Beuker is now Director of Football at Queen's Park in Scotland.

You can listen to the full episode below.

2. VICTOR ORTA (October 2019)

In Episode #7, Leeds United Director of Football told us about the quiet revolution that ultimately led the club back to the promised land of the Premier League after 16 years.

The Spaniard revealed how legendary manager Marcelo Bielsa was lured to Elland Road and how the club blend data and intuition in their decision-making. “For teams like us, who are limited in terms of budget, creativity is important in transfers,” he said.

You can listen to the full episode below.

1. MICHAEL BEALE (June 2021)

So here it is, our most downloaded episode of all time...

Steven Gerrard has said it would take him 20 years to become as good a coach as Michael Beale, so we decided to talk to the man himself and find out his secrets.

In Episode #27, Beale outlined his approach, including the you v yourself mentality, the importance of playfulness and the 2 v 2 box game. Beale, who was first-team coach at Rangers at the time, is now assistant to Gerrard at Aston Villa.

You can listen to the full episode below.

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