DEBUTS ARE always an emotional affair with many feelings of impatience, nerves and excitement for the first showing. The first National Elite Academy held in Taupo in March 2015 was no different as it made its first appearance for the Ricki Herbert Football Academies line up of courses.
The Course, which saw 48 players from all over the north island make their way to Taupo was something developed in the latter stages of 2013. The course saw players given a weekend of coaching by Ricki Herbert himself as well as his Auckland and Wellington Head coaches.
The course was developed as another opportunity for players not based in the main centres. Ricki had this to say about the courses development. “Elite players are given opportunities every week in the main centres such as Auckland and Wellington. We wanted to provide another footballing experience for players who aren’t based in these areas.”
At 1pm on Friday the 7th of March the Top Ten Holiday Park in Taupo welcomed the academy players and staff to their facility on Centennial Drive. Upon arrival the players were greeted by academy staff members and shown to their rooms. Once there, they were given time to settle before returning to the front entrance to be welcomed by Ricki. Parents and players listened in as the players were informed of how the weekend would run.
After the conclusion of the welcome the players went back to their rooms and relaxed before preparing for their first session. At 3.45 the players boarded the bus which would take them around Taupo for the weekend and headed to Crowne Park to begin the weekends training. After leaving the bus the players were taken into the club house in Taupo and briefed about the weekend and the opportunity; before making their way out to being. The players were put into a younger and older group and remained in these groups for the duration of the weekend. After two hours of intense training the players first session was complete with the focal points of the weekend now infixed in the players brains, ready to continue on for the rest of the weekend.
The training presented to the players was a high intensity pass and move scenario throughout the weekend, getting the players thinking about moving off the ball. And thinking where can I move? To further benefit the player on the ball. All sessions done over the weekends training were taken into game situations to further progress the sessions into game like scenarios. The players worked very hard during their weekend of training and credit must be given to the attitude and approach to their sessions. The Sunday afternoon concluded the weekend with some 11 a side game play, with a focus on shape as well as pass and move football once again. It is fair to say that the players left with all energy drained from the weekend’s experiences.
The players were treated to a professional camp environment, which included physiotherapist present on all days, accommodation for the weekend and all meals included. This left the players with many new memories, new friends and new experiences.
The weekend concluded at Crowne Park, where Ricki once again finished off by taking to the players and the parents about the weekend and thanking them for their support. He outlined the performance of the course and then went about describing the future of the course which included outlining another course in October this year.
The purpose of the course was to give players throughout the north island another opportunity through the academy where they could develop with all the academy coaches and current academy players. This leads to better relationships for players who may be taking the next step. This of course being international tours with the academy. Given this purpose we believe that this particular debut was a great success and we now look to strengthen all parts of our game for this course to remain a consistent member of our course starting 11.