Youngsters working on improving their fitnessTown’s youngsters have been well and truly put through their paces in recent weeks, with early season fitness testing taking place as well as continuing strength and conditioning sessions for all age groups from U8s to the youth team.
It is a vital stage of the early development of the young players as they work towards the physical attributes needed to progress into professional football.
Fortunately, Town work intensively on this area and have dedicated coaches and sessions to ensure that the players are provided with the best possible start to their careers.
Simon Whitehead, from Pro Football Support, works extensively with all age groups, and he believes that the early start to this type of training will stand the young players in good stead going forward.
“It’s vital, especially with the younger ones.
“Being able to move well and being able to control your action is a key part of football and one that they will take through their career.”
Whitehead explains that working on the physical components early on will only help the players with their footballing skill-set.
He continued: “With the younger ones, we try to help them develop movement patterns which they can transfer into football.
“So basic coordination, balance, speed and agility, which will all give them a sound foundation when they have the ball at their feet.”
As the players get older, Whitehead says it more about fine-tuning their attributes.
“With the youth team we work on specific components, based on the results of the fitness testing results that we develop.
“It’s important with the lads that are U14, U15 or in the youth team to push their foundations even further, so whatever they’ve developed so far in their career, they can push them to reach their peak and their full potential.”
Whilst they are working on the physical aspects, injuries can often be a stumbling block, as Town’s sports therapist Wayne Peter explains.
“Obviously they all mature at different paces, but it’s looking after them and the little injuries that they do pick up, especially when they’re at this level because their training is quite intense.
“When we do pick up injuries, it’s about rehabilitating them properly and educating them as well.”
Peter agrees with Whitehead’s assertion that this phase of their development is vital to their future prospects, a view that is shared by academy manager Andy Jones.
“AJ has implemented a lot of the strength and conditioning, which is to prepare these lads for when they do go through that growth.”
Peter continued: “At this age it’s very important. A lot of them are in their growth phases, so it’s monitoring them, and looking after them as they mature into adults.
“Obviously they all mature at different paces, but it’s looking after them and the little injuries that they do pick up, especially when they’re at this level because their training is quite intense.”
At the early age, Peter says that the separate interests on the younger players means that they need to be watched closely.
“We monitor them and we manage them. A lot of these lads are good at other sports, so when they’re in school they’re going to be doing athletics, swimming or even rugby.”
He continued: “We have to manage them in those areas as well, which can be the difficult side of things.
“But it comes down to education and the parents are very helpful as well with that.”