Academy Manager Phil Cannon
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At Blackburn Rovers, our philosophy for the game remains constant.
In accordance with our motto of ‘Arte et Labore’ (by skill and hard work), a strong work ethic, dedication, honesty, a sense of team, and an individual and collective desire to be the best, embrace everything our teams represent.
From the First Team and throughout the Academy, we recognize the need to be clear, consistent and committed in our approach to player development. It is essential that training sessions show the relationship between practice and the real game, encouraging players to be independent decision makers. In development work, coaches who seek to win matches as their overriding priority will limit the development potential of their young players. We believe it is important to treat all players as individuals and provide them with a programme and the resources, that meets their individual needs to enable them to be the best they possibly can.
In the Foundation Phase of our programme we aim to provide the young players with a positive learning environment, to have fun and learn to “love the game”, whilst also using specific coaching methods to develop the basic fundamentals of the game and develop a basic game understanding. We believe it is important to develop our young players technically, tactically, psychologically and socially within this phase. They will be expected to develop the basic techniques of specific skills, understand the basics of attacking and defending, play without fear and develop the understanding of teamwork through the friendships they build up. We aim to develop their recognition and understanding of a 1-2-3-1 formation through to a 1-3-4-1 formation at U11. They will gain an understanding that even the weekend games are part of their coaching programme and overall development. The latter stages of this phase will see coaches implement specific elements, both tactically and technically, to enable players to progress, with a smooth transition into the next phase.
In the Youth Development Phase we aim to further develop game understanding and implement various strategies to support player development. Players in this phase will be expected to understand specific positional requirements when in possession, out of possession and react in transition. They will be encouraged to play out from the back, make the pitch big, play forward and make passes that take opponents out of the game at high tempo. In defending, players will learn how to defend as individuals and as a team, whether pressing from the front after established attack or dropping off and holding. Our players are coached to express themselves at the right time and the appropriate area of the pitch, playing quickly in and around the box and being creative in wide areas. They will have developed their game understanding of specific formations and expectations. The preferred formation that players will adopt is a 1-4-3-3, however their knowledge of other formations will be enhanced. Through specific testing and performance analysis we aim to develop players in all areas; technically, tactically, physically and psychologically. We aim to develop a competitive and winning mentality of players within this phase to support their transition into full time players.
The overall focus of the Professional Development Phase is continuing with our player’s development to progress into our first team. We aim to provide the players with a game understanding that is evident at First Team Level. This is implemented through adopting similar strategies and playing styles that mirror the club’s Football Philosophy. Our players will be able to demonstrate the key fundamentals of attacking and defending. They will be comfortable in possession of the football, be able to play out from the back, rotate within midfield and be able to play quickly around the box with creative and inventive play. They will have the knowledge and understanding of various formations and their role within that formation. We will encourage players within this phase to be able to self evaluate and understand the requirements to progress into the First Team set up. We will work hard to ensure the players demonstrate a competitive and winning mentality in all areas.
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