With the country entering its sixth week of lockdown, our academy reporter Alex Lection caught up with sports scientist Jeremy Poulson to get the latest on how the Owls youngsters have been keeping fit during these unprecedented times.
Poulson has been working closely with the players throughout the lockdown period, formulating physical delivery programmes across all age groups.
Since the suspension of the season and lockdown instruction, the academy operation has fallen in line with that of the first team. To ensure the continuation of the academy programme, the requisite support, resource and provision is available to keep the players active.
Poulson explains: “We have to make sure the players are rested and in a good shape when training can resume but without a return date, an end goal for the programme is difficult to predict.
“So we try to cover all bases. The current daily routine for the Under 18s and Under-23s involves a wellness questionnaire to perform the daily session plan and then rate how hard the session is perceived to be.
“This is all communicated through a team WhatsApp group. Instead of wearing GPS normally used to track the players, they are now using the Strava app or Apple watches to monitor their work.”
Poulson has adapted programmes to incorporate varied sessions involving high intensity sprints, quick changes of direction, agility, accelerations and decelerations; all with and without the ball.
All the information is tracked and reported to coaching staff daily. The programmes can be performed in isolation with minimal equipment whilst still achieving the desired physical output.
Further down the academy chain, Poulson says the programme is tailored for the younger age levels, who need more guidance towards keeping their core skills including balance, coordination and
“The schoolboy programme from the Under-16s down to the Under-9s is delivered three/four times a week and this will keep a strong foundation to see the boys through to the start of May.
“These activities, along with football skills sessions, can be performed at home in their gardens or at the park. Players are provided with videos to assist with how the programmes are performed to help with their learning and development.”