Poole Town have hired their maiden sports scientist, Tom Webster, a Sport Psychology and Coaching Sciences student at Bournemouth University.  

Webster will be present at trainings and on all match days, both at Tatnam and away from home during term-time.

“Completing my degree as well as gaining experience is really important in order to break into the competitive sports industry,” he said.

Tom Webster (back-centre) in the dugout at Swindon's County Ground © Webster

Tom Webster (back-centre) in the dugout at Swindon’s County Ground © Webster

Poole will not be Webster’s first taste of professional sport, though. Webster witnessed Paolo Di Canio’s reign at Swindon Town and the 22-year old has a healthy chunk of experience from a short space of time.

“West Ham invited me to a one-off trial which went well and they asked me to come back once a fortnight for the rest of the season.

“It was brilliant to be able to get experience of a Premier League club with a first class set up and to work alongside players that you see on Match of the Day was a great honour.”

Webster secured a position at Warwickshire County Cricket Club, as well as at Swindon, during his mandatory placement year. Here, he was involved in a number of tasks from delivering conditioning programmes for players to performance analysis.

Webster insisted that working under the then Robins manager - the notoriously hot-headed Paolo Di Canio – was not the most challenging part of his placement year.

“The biggest challenge was getting used to the culture surrounding a professional club. At first I found it a little daunting because University does not teach you how to act around professional athletes.”

As for the temperamental Italian, Tom tactfully describes him as a “very unique, passionate character who cares a lot about football and has a win at all costs attitude.”

Di Canio resigned as manager of Swindon Town taking his coaching team with him and putting Webster’s internship in jeopardy. “Two first-team players became player managers for the week and I was asked by the new management team to act as interim head fitness coach while they found a full-time replacement.

“I was in charge of match-day warm-ups, hydration, nutrition and rehabilitation so I was really in at the deep end.

“Stepping out in front of a crowd is an experience I will never forget.”