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ACADEMY: Foundation phase half season update

30 January 2015

An update from the academy foundation phase

Academy coach Ben Benson gave us a half season update from the Foundation Phase earlier this week.

“At the half way stage of the season we have been delighted with the commitment shown by the players, and by their application during games and our training sessions,” he said.  

“We have tweaked our technical and tactical programme for the foundation phase (U9 - U11) this season and we believe we now have a very good programme which encompasses the four corners of player development (technical / tactical, social, physical and psychological).” 

“As an example of what has changed, we now do a video analysis session with each of our foundation teams at the end of our six-week programme,” he explained. “In addition, we play internal games every Thursday and this has doubled the size of our fixture schedule across the season. 

“Alan [Moore], Vince [Overson] and Dave [Wilkes] have been excellent sounding boards throughout the process and we all feel these changes will have a positive impact over the course of the coming seasons.”

“The recruitment aspect of the Foundation Phase has also been made a little more grassroots friendly,” he told us. “Work is well underway, via our development centres, to make up next seasons U9 teams. 

“From February we will also be introducing, for the first time, a bespoke U7 development centre. Players in this age group will meet up once a month to allow us to gradually introduce them to the process. As we have already stated, the development centres are designed to supplement the very good work the players already do with their teams. 

“By continuing with this process it allows us to be in a position to inform grassroots clubs up to five months in advance that their player could be joining us from the start of the next season.”

“I am also delighted to announce that the Carlisle United Business Club has endorsed the West Cumbria development centre,” he said. “This endorsement shows the club’s commitment towards youth development and speaks volumes of the work by the players whilst involved with the centre.

“The season has also seen the introduction of open evenings for coaches and various other linked club events. We’ve had the opportunity to play a lot of games against local grassroots teams and we believe these links are a massive part of having a successful, sustainable programme.”

“From the goalkeeping side of things at the academy, I am very pleased with the attitude and application the boys have shown,” he commented. “Although our goalkeeping programme remains largely the same, we have made a couple of changes. 

“The U12 - U16 keepers now receive an extra hour of training each week. This doesn’t sound like much but, over the course of the season, this adds up to another 36 hours of development time. 

“We have also added a video analysis workshop which is carried out every six weeks. This gives us the opportunity to watch good and bad practice, from which we can all learn. We have used youth team footage, academy footage and even footage of the keepers as they carry out their training sessions.” 

“Going into the final few months of both the development centres and U9 – U11 programme, we are very excited about what the players will do during this period,” he concluded. 

“I would like to take this opportunity to say a big well done to the players for their efforts so far, as well as a thank you for the commitment to the programme shown by the parents and guardians of all involved.”

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