AS part of the EFL’s Youth Development Week, Youth Development Phase Lead Coach Dave Freeman gives an insight into what a day working in the Academy is like, and what the overall goal is for the Brewers coaches.
WORKING IN THE ACADEMY OFFICE
“The office side of the job is based around being on top of the logistics of what we do in the Academy. I look after the under under 12s to under 16s, so across the five teams we may be looking at training activity, what players are available, emails and working with parents.
“It is about getting all of that information together and trying to get the coaches as much information as possible as far in advance as we can, so they can prepare their sessions for that evening.”
PLANNING TRAINING SESSIONS
“I wish was as easy as just sending the boys out on a training pitch and going from there! But there is so much more detail in what we do to create training sessions for our players. For instance, on Tuesdays we train on the indoor 3G at St. George’s Park. We also have the use of the track and the gym there, so our strength and conditioning (S&C) coaches will be in.
“The under 16s will go through their individual programmes in the gym for the first 45 minutes, the under 14s will do some group gym activity. A lot of what they are doing at the moment is about lifting techniques, which will prepare them for next season when they look at the weights in a little bit more detail.
“When we use the track, we have got the under 12s and under 13s that will work with the S&C coaches before going into their pitch-based session.”
“We are in contact with the part-time coaches on a regular basis, and we try to get them that information around who may be attending and what the session looks like. They may have questions for the full-time staff around topic, the curriculum and the build-up for the games that week.
“When a team has a game the next evening, for instance in the EFL Floodlit League, they would not do their normal session, their prep would be slightly different to the rest of the players that are training at the time.”
WORKING WITH PARENTS
“A lot of the contact with players is done through their parents. We compete for the boys’ time, because they are all in a good place in terms of their sporting activities from schools and county, so we have to take all of that into consideration.
“There has to be a bit of give and take from us so that the lads still get to socialise with people from their schools, playing in school games. There are obviously other sports that they are involved in.
“We promote that, we do like them to get the opportunity to play across different codes because we feel that it’s good for their development.
“There parents are hugely important, because if the were not supporting us in the work we do it would not be helpful, because they obviously get to spend more time with the boys than we do.”
“If you look at a typical games programme day for us, our home games (Youth Development Phase) are played at Welbeck Defence College in Loughborough. Usually, it will either be the odd age groups away and the evens at home, or vice versa.
“We would decide the staffing, so the age group coaches would go wherever their team was. We like to spread the full-time staff across the two (home and away). If I was going to an away game, I would probably be driving the Academy minibus, with the coaches and whatever players needed transport on that day.
“For home games, the players would make their own way there but it can be a busy schedule on those days.”
“Obviously we want all of the boys to do well, but we are realistic and we have all seen that the margins are so fine. We have had some success this year, with the first team playing in League One.
“That creates lots of opportunity to take a look at home-grown talent. We have had some players that have made a number of appearances and we are hoping to build on that.
At the end of it, we want any player that has been in with us and doesn’t make it to leave better for the experience. We want to develop better players and better people, and we would be delighted to see any of them go and do well elsewhere, if not here.”