Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Wednesday 23rd October 2013
When I worked as a physiotherapist for the Football Association, I met a yoga-trained fitness instructor with some great ideas on developing range of movement & control through range by adapting movements specific to the sport.  We chatted at a conference I had helped to organise & kept her details...Sarah Ramsden.

A couple of years later, I started in my role as Head of Medical Services & Exercise Science at Heart of Midlothian FC in the Scottish Premier League.  My remit was to build a department that would rival any team in the Champions League & support a challenge to the league title.  One of the first moves I made was to recruit Sarah to my "dream team" & she would fly up to Edinburgh once a week to work with players on an individual basis & lead long group sessions for the week.  Each player would then have a short daily programme to work on, based around the results of Sarah's assessments.

Sarah's approach really complimented the work that the sports physiotherapists were conducting with the rest of the team & injury rates with regards muscle strains started to significantly decrease.  The team we had was a fun one to work with & Sarah was an integral member.

Once I left the Club, the vast majority of the department left too & Sarah was offered new challenges.  We still keep in touch & I am delighted to hear how Sarah's career has launched into the stratosphere.  Recently, I asked Sarah if she would answer a few questions for the blog & so this week, it is my pleasure to introduce Sarah Ramsden to you all.

1)    Please introduce yourself in ten words or less


I’m Sarah Ramsden – I train flexibility, core & functional movement.

(Or like most people you could call me a yoga coach!)


2)    What is your current role?


I train football players at Manchester City & Manchester United football clubs, here in the UK. I work with senior players in groups &/or as individuals, reserves, U18 & U16 players.


I also run a couple of public classes in my home town, where I work with amateur athletes.


3)    How did you initially become interested in the work you do & then develop that interest into a role working in sport?


I became interested in the role of flexibility & the training of flexibility, whilst competing as a rower. If you are a rower then you need length through the hamstrings for an efficient stroke – it’s that simple. But watching elite rowing squads train, I couldn’t understand why they weren’t training their flexibility.


As a yoga teacher - I offered to do it for them!


4)    Football can be a difficult place to introduce new concepts of training...particularly when you were starting out.  What challenges have you faced along the way & how have you overcome them? 


I came into football ten years ago & I think I was lucky that it was at a time when football was changing to become faster, more fluid & more athletic on the pitch. That has certainly helped.


Obviously the whole ‘yoga’ connotations are a challenge in football – but I don’t talk about ‘yoga’, I talk about range, I talk about movement, I talk about efficiency, I talk about resistance & I talk about training to become more supple, better balanced & more efficient in movement on the pitch.


I also use techniques from pilates, Thai massage, functional movement, fascial relaxation…so I am a long way from the stereotypical yoga teacher now!


5)    What are the most important relationships to build as a consultant working in an elite sports club & how do you go about building them?


Every relationship is important. I don’t think about building relationships as such – rather about doing the best job I can for everyone I work with & everyone I come into contact with.


6)    If a player questions what benefits he/she would experience by working with you, what is your answer?


To move more fluidly, reach further, feel sharper, recover faster, injure less & play for longer.


7)    What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?


That’s a hard one!  I’m tempted to say “All of it”!


But maybe when a player who is really tight & restricted, begins to loosen up & suddenly realizes just how much he’s been fighting against his own resistance. 


There’s the “OMG – I didn’t realize it’s possible to feel this good on the pitch”’ moment.


That’s so rewarding to see.


8)    What has been the most satisfying case you have worked with?


Probably working with older players are the most satisfying cases.


So often players start losing their fluidity & movement just at the point when their experience & skill is at the greatest!  That is such a waste.


So helping a player to extend their career & keep that experience on the pitch is fantastic.


9)    How do you see your work developing over the next 5 years?


Probably to move into training other S&C coaches in ROM training & also training yoga teachers to work in football.


10) If anyone reading this interview was interested in learning more about your work, where can they find more information & are you running courses to teach your approach?


They can learn more & contact me via


I’ve got a workshop with the Football Association coming up in the New Year – details will be on my website.


But I’d be really interested in hearing from people looking to train in this approach so I can make courses more specific to different participant groups.


You can contact me at

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your hectic schedule, Sarah & we shall talk again once you have more details on your course...I'll definitely be looking to get involved!!!
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