An update on our Development Centre activity
Academy coach Ben Benson spoke to us about the club’s Development Centres as they head into their third season of operation.
“Our Development Centres have now been in operation for three years and we have been delighted with the way they have gone,” he said. “The really pleasing thing is that 27% of players have been signed by the club’s main academy during this period. This is a significant number and is testament to the work being done within our grassroots programme.”
“The Development Centres were brought into operation for a number of reasons,” he added. “It gives us an opportunity to identify players in the U8 age group one year in advance. In turn we feel this helps the parent club as we can let them know what is happening with their player by the end of March the following year.
“Obviously throughout their year as an U8 they both stay with their club and receive coaching from the academy staff at the same time.”
“The Whitehaven Development Centre has teams from the U8 to U11 age groups,” he explained. “This allows it to act as a ‘shadow academy’ with the added benefit of the players also being allowed to stay with their parent club.
“We aim to send players from our Whitehaven Centre for trials at our main Academy in January with a view to signing them at the end of the season. Again, this is designed to help at grassroots level because it means we do not uproot players during a season. We are very aware that clubs face potential fines if they cannot fulfil their fixture list.”
“We are now six weeks into our third season and we have been very pleased with the effort the players have put in,” he told us. “They are working hard to implement the messages we are giving them and that is pleasing to see.
“We are also delighted that the CUFC Business Club has sponsored the Whitehaven Development Centre. This means we have guaranteed funding for the next two years.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the U8 parents who were involved with our five week talent ID centre at Caldew School. We have since selected five players who will now take part in further U8 training sessions. As mentioned, the intention is to filter final decisions out to the players and their clubs no later than March 2015. This shows how seriously we view our grassroots programme as we look to run hand in hand with those around us.”
“We are also delighted to announce that we will hold an U8 festival,” he said. “This is designed to give our Development Centre teams the opportunity to play against each other and some other local teams.
“We want our Development Centres to act as an addition to what the players already do. They are all encouraged to continue learning and playing within the grassroots game. Obviously there comes a point where we will look to recruit players but we are trying to put safeguards in place to help players and coaches within the grassroots programme.
“We are always keen to strengthen our links and if any clubs or coaches wish to recommend a player for the Whitehaven Development Centre, or wish to be considered as a linked club, then please email firstname.lastname@example.org
for more details.”