ACADEMY UPDATE: A busy period

We are now in the middle of a very busy period for our academy players with trainings and games coming thick and fast.

As well as the commitments, our programme presents, players are also juggling school football, P.E and in some cases Futsal. All this added together provides lots of fantastic opportunities for these players but also a physically very demanding schedule.

With some players getting over 12 football or physical activities per week, managing the workload on their maturing bodies is something that Michael and I are having to pay close attention to. This is by no means an easy task, particularly with some other programmes unwilling to apply the same logic and understanding to the player’s workload that we try to.

Our two Academy teams Melville “Red” and Melville “Green” are scheduled to play against each other this week in the U14 Federation competition. This game will take place this Monday night (June 12th) at 6pm under the lights at Gower Park (Most likely No 2 pitch).

As Michael alluded to in the previous programme, the results of these games at this stage are not a main focus for either of us. That said, fostering the player’s willingness and drive to compete is an important part of their development and we look forward to seeing how the players match up against each other in a competitive environment.

The players have begun to take a real interest in the first team which is fantastic to see. Most of them attend every game even when they are not on ball boy duty and are constantly asking questions about the first team players and how the season is progressing.

Michael and I work hard to create a sense of pride and prestige around the first team and its really pleasing to see the young academy players beginning to look up to the senior players.

We have had fantastic buy in and support from all the Academy parents. All of them are new to the club and are making a real effort to not only fit in but to actively contribute to the culture. Whether its organising sausage sizzles, aftermatch food or simply showing their faces in the clubrooms their support has really helped build the Academy programme.

Finally, I saw this photo (above) doing the rounds on Twitter this week. For those of you that haven’t worked it out… the scrawny undeveloped young player is Manchester United’s former midfield powerhouse Roy Keane!

The photo is a great reminder about the huge difference in physical maturation rates in young players. While players grow and develop at completely different speeds, in the end it all evens itself out. Whether it dealing with the early or late developer, patience and understanding is required!

– Sam Wilkinson.

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