Planning Excellence – Online Conference

12 April 2021

Effective planning is more important now than ever. With busier fixture lists, ever-increasing pressure to maximise every minute of staff/player available time, and most testing and protocols than ever – now is the time to consider best practices in whole team planning. From organising first-team training sessions that include a few promising youth players, to making sure players can book and adjust physio sessions in a way that is time effective, to making sure that all stakeholders are informed about key changes to the schedule in a timely and fool-proof way – there are always better ways to plan.

For the conference, we’ve got some great industry experts together to discuss their experience, methods and tools used in their pursuit of excellence. Headlining the event will be World Rugby Director of Rugby and High Performance, and former Ireland Head Coach, Joe Schmidt.

We will have a number of other contributors for the conference, and they will be announced soon.

The Online Conference begins at 10.00 am on Monday the 3rd of May and will conclude at 12.30 pm. It will be via Zoom and tickets are available HERE. Places are free, and if the time isn’t right for you – please still register and you’ll get a link to the recorded session after the event.

There will also be the opportunity to ask questions and give your feedback. Hope to see you there!


Joe Schmidt
Director of Rugby and High Performance @World Rugby

New Zealand born Joe Schmidt is best known as Head Coach of the Ireland men’s national rugby team from 2016 – 2019. As Ireland’s most successful Head Coach ever, he won three Six Nations’, a Grand Slam, and the team were ranked 1 in the World Rugby Rankings for the first time. Schmidt was appointed World Rugby’s Director of Rugby and High Performance in October 2020, where he has responsibility on issues related to player welfare, training and education.

Des Ryan
Head of Academy Sports Medicine and Athletic Development @Arsenal F.C.

Des Ryan joined Arsenal in 2013 as the Head of Sports Medicine and Athletic Development at the Academy. Before joining the Gunners, Ryan had a successful career in rugby: he worked for the IRFU as an S&C coach and fitness education manager. Previously, he was Head of S&C at Connacht Rugby for almost a decade. Ryan has also completed a Masters in S&C and is a tutor at World Rugby and the IRFU, which allowed him to be a lecturer in conferences around the world.

Matt Willmott
Head of Fitness & Conditioning Coach @MK Dons F.C.

In 2018 Matt Willmott joined Milton Keynes Dons F.C. as Head of Fitness & Conditioning Coach, where he had previously been a Sports Medicine Intern and the club’s first Academy Lead Sports Scientist. At the end of the 2015-2016 season, Willmott became Lead Youth Development Sports Scientist at Leicester City F.C., right before the team won the Premier League for the very first time. Besides, he completed an MSc in Sports Therapy and is also an accredited S&C coach.

Chris Rush
Former Head of Athletic Performance @Blackburn Rovers F.C.

After 15 years of full-time working in professional football with English clubs such as Preston North End, Middlesbrough or Manchester City, Chris Rush announced earlier this year his decision to resign from his position as Blackburn Rover’s Head of Athletic Performance. After happily working with the club for almost a decade, Rush realised that it was time to prioritise family life over professional life and to try new and different things from football.

Shayne Murphy
Football Scientist Consultant

Football scientist founder of SDM Performance Shayne Murphy will be helping Scotland Men’s National Football Team prepare for this summer’s UEFA Euro 2020. In June this year, the Scottish team will be playing a major tournament for the first time in twenty years. Besides, Murphy has more than 11 years of experience in the English football league with elite players at Manchester City F.C., Liverpool F.C., Blackburn Rovers F.C. and Cardiff City F.C.