Report from the first Academy Weekend of 2019

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So, 2019 has started well for the 30 youth participants at the GB Development Academy in Liverpool this weekend. On Saturday morning the weather was kind for the time of year which allowed the kids to do a 20 min land warm up as well as a full hour and a half session outdoors on the dock at Collingwood. This consisted of groups of 4/5 doing ‘trains’ and then 2 and 2 possession, followed by attack and defense sessions.
The Academy have been lucky to secure the use of a pool and gym from 3 until 7pm on the Saturday and 9am Sunday until 5pm. The youth are split into 3 groups of ability, with a set rota for each session. Each group uses the gym doing circuits and ball throwing skills. The session includes penalties for a missed ball – press ups on the spot! This includes the coaches! They do not stand and dish out the orders they also participate. Always brings a bit of humour to the session.
Then onto the small pool which is used to perfect support strokes, ball work and rolling techniques. A lot of “team-building” can be found in this pool (mainly how to dunk your best mate when Mike isn’t looking!) While in the small pool the kids also take it in turns to do a session on the Ergo which helps to improve paddling technique and simulates the lactic test on dry land. On Sunday they do a 500m time trial and their times are compared each month to monitor progress and record achievement.
The main pool is for structured drills, boat handling and shooting accuracy. On Sunday the afternoon ends with playing full games and trying to implement the new skills they have learnt over the weekend. The Academy also encourages the kids to ref these games themselves while being shadowed by the coaches, with words of advice and encouragement for those who would normally shy away from reffing – giving them the confidence to blow that whistle!
This month saw a new start to the Sunday morning with a MASSIVE get together in the gym. This session was SO much fun not just for the kids and coaches but the parents watching. BENCH BALL!! Oh yes…. what fun and a great Academy bonding session. There was no hiding – jesting and teamwork all part of the enjoyment! The best thing about it was that these kids know HOW to throw a ball, HOW to get into the right position to catch the ball, it encourages movement for kids who normally use the water to move, they had to use their feet running/jumping but at the same time STOP when they caught the ball. It was great to see the skills they had learnt on the water being used on land – and giving them an excellent cardiac workout at the same time! The best way to wake up on Sunday morning.
Can’t wait to do it all again next month!
Su Morris

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