Academy training is so much more than time spent on the training field with the Youth Development Phase incorporating educational and psychological elements to their programme too.
The Youth Development Phase (U14s to U16s) train at the Keepmoat Stadium taking part in what they call a carousel of the fitness, education, and coaching.
The apprentices report at the Keepmoat for 5:30pm where they begin the first of four activities which would be carried out in a carousel in tandem with the U13s, 14s, 15s and 16s. Each session lasts 45-minutes before the players rotate to the next activity while the full carousel of activities will be linked to one overarching theme.
On this particular session, the theme was communication.
Lead youth development phase officer Tony Mee led an outdoor training session which heavily revolved around team bonding and communication.
The first exercise included only half of the team being allowed to talk when playing a five-a-side game, encouraging players to speak up more, learning the importance of communicating while playing and also breeding confidence in their own ability to command and lead their teammates.
Moving indoors, the U16s met their tutor for the year, Nathan Fawley. He continued with the theme of communication by making the teammates try and describe certain sports personalities to each other without using their names. Some described first-team boss Darren Moore while others tried to describe Cristiano Ronaldo.
After an insightful lesson with Nathan, they headed next door where they linked-up with Tony Mee who provided in depth analysis of the most recent match from the U16s mini-tournament. This was a game played against Rotherham United.
The time was spent praising players’ efforts in the game while highlighting key areas of development both independently and collectively – reiterating the high standards set throughout the Academy.
The evening was rounded-off with a fitness session with head of Academy sports science Daniel Solts. Identical to how the first-teams sports science is conducted they underwent basic fitness tests to gage where their current levels – including jump testing.
Training for the YDP continues weekly, taking place every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. To keep up-to-date with the latest from the Academy follow @drfc_academy on Twitter.