This stage of the junior players' development is important for developing the players' skills & characteristics to become future 1st Grade players. The focus on this part of the pathway is still on football skills as well as physical and mental development. The intensity and application increases to progress further in a professional and high performance environment.
The Warrington Wolves Academy U19 squad is comprised of contracted players who train solely as Warrington Wolves players. All players are expected to train three times a week (four in preseason) as well as follow their home programme.
The Warrington Wolves Academy Development Programme Practice sessions and athletic development sessions are held at the homes of two of our key partners; Birchwood Community High School and the University of Chester Warrington Campus at Padgate. The two sites provide an excellent environment supported by state of the art facilities, which encourages learning and accelerates improvement and development.
The Warrington Wolves Academy Development Programme is underpinned by our philosophies outlined and the key elements of the programme are listed below:
- Developing the Person: The development of the person is focused 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 progresses and intensifies along with the mental and physical advancements of the individuals. The training becomes more relevant to Rugby League and elite level expectations required of the players. The strength and conditioning intensifies, building upon the strength foundations and muscular control laid in the Warrington Wolves Scholarship Development Programme. The movement literacy and movement skill level of the players is enhanced and progressed as agility, balance, flexibility, speed, coordination and hand eye coordination is still an integral part of the young players' development. All conditioning is Rugby League specific and where possible position specific, individuals specific conditioning needs are targeted to further 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 key resources at this stage. However The Warrington Wolves 5 Star Coaching Plan becomes much more relevant and important as a guide and resource for the ongoing Rugby League development of the players. Progressions are made from fundamental skills into small unit work to situational unit work, team shape and structure and then into pressured shape and structure. However it is vital that at each advancement the previous stages are not forgotten or abandoned, each stage should be recycled throughout the practice and competition phases of the programme. The players and coaches involved in the Warrington Wolves Academy Development Programme adopt the first grade shape, playing structures, tactical systems and calls. However it is down to the Head Coach to progress the players through the systems relevant to their level of development and to educate the players on the tactical systems, shape and calls as they progress.
- Academy Education Programme: Much of the education for the Academy U19 players takes place within the programme and from the high performance environment and is focussed upon developing the mental and professional elements alongside their Rugby League understanding. All players are expected to buy into the Warrington Wolves culture and philosophies and the education of players will reinforce these philosophies. In addition, important educational topics are covered by external deliverers to ensure the quality of education and these educational topics include: Sexual health, Drugs in sport, alcohol awareness, recreational drugs awareness, nutrition, supplementation.
In order to achieve the above aims, Warrington Wolves Academy are reliant on loyal, honest and hardworking staff and volunteers in the coaching teams, strength and conditioning coaches, educational tutors and performance analysts.
All players receive quality video reviews throughout the year on their performances individual and team, these have been formalised along with a personal development and action plan. The Head Coach and Assistant coaches will deliver individual video reviews and ongoing action points will be recorded alongside the player's personal development plan.