Over recent years the Youth Development structures have been changed significantly by the Rugby Football League, as we enter the 2013 season the structure for the U16 and below again take on a new guise and brings both U15 and U16 players together in a combined development squad, that will play games against other Superleague clubs combined U16s.
The Warrington Wolves U16 Academy is officially when junior eilte players become part of the Warrington Wolves Club and this is also when their development programme intensifies, the players are expected to demonstrate their own commitment, dedication and discipline in all facets of their training. The Warrington Wolves U16 Academy Programme recognises the additional activities and community commitments that many of the players are involved in, as well as the academic commitments that all players have during the school Years 10 and 11, therefore during the season the U16 academy train only once a week, however that session is a high intensity, high quality session. In addition all players are expected to undertake a home programme supplied by the Head of Junior Strength and Conditioning.
The Warrington Wolves U16 Academy Programme is a step up from the Warrington & Cheshire Elite Development Camps and the programme reflects this. Outlined below are the key elements that make up the U16 Academy Programme, which when twinned with the Warrington Wolves Youth Development Department's Philosophies become a robust and intense learning environment:
- Developing the Person: The development of the person now focuses on: Honesty, Trust, Loyalty, Discipline, Attitude, Behaviour, Commitment, Dedication and Respect, all of these elements underpin the programme and its delivery.
- Athletic Development: The athletic development of the players becomes more relevant to the maturation levels of the individuals and the relevance to the game and development stage they are at. The strength and conditioning intensifies, building upon functional movement and strength and adding to the levels of agility, balance, flexibility, speed, coordination and hand eye coordination. Developing strength alongside muscular control is important along with advancing lifting techniques. There is more Rugby League specific conditioning introduced to benefit the players' development within Rugby League.
- Developing Footballing ability: Basic and essential core skills are the foundations for all of the footballing ability development. The Warrington Wolves Skills Building Blocks and Performance Skills DVD are still the key resources at this stage. Principles of The Warrington Wolves 5 Star Coaching Plan can be introduced which sees progression from fundamental skills into small unit work, situational unit work, team shape and structure and pressured shape and structure. The introduction of simple playing structures, tactical systems and basic shape aids the tactical elements of the players' development.
- U16 Academy Education Programme: A formal education plan lies alongside the personal, athletic and football development programme. Key components of the education plan include Respect, Nutrition, Recovery, Injury Management and Prehabilitiation, Drugs in Sport, Media Training, Career Guidance, Lifestyle, Sport Psychology, Alcohol Awareness and Recreational Drugs Awareness.
In order to achieve the above aims, Warrington Wolves U16 Academy are reliant on a loyal and hardworking volunteer base, from coaching to conditioning, education to analysis there are many staff that make the Warrington Wolves U16 Academy Development Programme successful.
To ensure that the four key elements of the Warrington Wolves U16 Academy Development Programme are delivered to a high standard and the delivery and progressions are player centred, the following standards, delivery methods and delivery mechanisms have been deployed:
- Minimum criteria for coaches
- Internship programme for support staff
- High Performance Environment
- Comprehensive football development syllabus
- Youth Specific Athletic Development Programme
- Position Specific Training
- Performance Days in school holidays
- Video Analysis Feedback and Reviews
- Formal reviews
- One to One dietary reviews
- Sport Psychology Support
- Role Models
- Parental Support and Education