Under 12, 13 and 14's faced Manchester City
Manchester City Academy provided another great opportunity last weekend as our Academy Under 12,13 and 14 age groups participated in a series of high quality fixtures.
As like the previous weekend we felt it was only right to take full advantage and use the weekend as another good opportunity to support the players with key preparation skills and information whilst
continuing to learn more about our younger players. We therefore made plans for all players to travel, and stay over night in Manchester as part of their preparation.
Supported gratefully by the Cambridge United Youth & Community Trust, the players and staff travelled up in luxury, enjoyed a team meeting and evening meal, before getting their heads down for rest and recovery. This time was important to spend with the players and great for them to continue and improve their social skills with each other and us.
On route, a dvd was shown to the players, about a true story, which in the film had strong messages which would hopefully enable our players to understand about the importance of Education, whilst demonstrating their talent in sport. The importance of discipline and attitude, the important of hardwork and focus, the importance of teamwork and respect! Without these, nothing can be achieved. The film would be inspiring to all players taking in the information and understanding the messages.
In the squads, there were several players experiencing this type of preparation for the first time and no doubt would have been an eye opener for them, with regards to what we expect. It was also another opportunity for others to demonstrate previous experiences and lead by example, so this was also interesting to view. It was good to identify the most professional youngster’s throughout the weekend and naturally those were the best performers when required against such good players. Their mentality supports them well and therefore provides them with every opportunity of demonstrating well in the game.
People talk a lot about wanting to Win, so what is a Win? How do we go about earning a Win? For me a Win is broke into the following: What’s Important Now? What’s required there and then!
When you are travelling – its about ensuring you are presentable and organised
If your in the team meeting – its about Listening & Learning to the information being provided which will support you
If your in a restaurant – it’s about choosing the right foods to support your body not what you particularly like more of – its about making the right choices.
When you receive your meal – It’s about consuming it all (yes including the salad dressing for example) – fussy eaters get nowhere. If it’s a problem – tackle it, if not it will beat you!
If your in your hotel room – its about getting rest and recovery to ensure you can re-charge in preparation for your next challenge.
When preparing in the changing room – It’s about thinking and concentrating on the role you are expected to perform in.
On the pitch – A good warm-up to ensure physically you are ready. Being competitive to the point you will do everything to be successful in your role.
Action however will always beat words, so therefore we watch accordingly to identify the players that show the need to be successful, over the players that think they are winning!
Spending time away highlights the 4 corners of their development very quickly and also enables us to see them in their true colours. It also enabled us to see more of their characters and how they can handle freedom and responsibility.
Eating habits to bed time sleeping, from organisation and communication to leadership it was good to view and identify! These experiences are great for them when they are in control of their own decision making and it certainly provides them with opportunities to promote themselves. Naturally some need more support than others.
Three fixtures were on show at their Academy Venue and it was clear to see that the fixtures were competitive and great talent. At stages in the game it was difficult and testing, which was great – the time to see the key aspects! Some individuals were taken out of their comfort zones on the pitch and it was good to see their reaction and how they would perform. In the main we were pleased with the evidence of performances we saw from our players. It was also pleasing to hear such positive comments from the Manchester City Staff about our players and fixtures are being planned for future dates, which is great for us.
On the journey south bound it enabled me on this instance to discuss and share information with a number of players about their performances and to receive feedback from them. Overall it was a great weekend and one I trust the players will remember.