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ESA Announces Affiliation With Southampton Football Club

Tue 20th Sep 2016 | Marketing & PR

With the ICON’s completion in summer 2016, ESA have secured ‘official training aid supplier’ status with Southampton FC, who have taken two ICON arenas to be used throughout the duration of the 2016/17 season.

As one of the world’s most prestigious academies, with a proven reputation for success in the development of players, the Saints are working with ESA to further develop the ICON to complete its transition into a professional training environment. Their coaches, sports scientists and players will assist in further improving the ICON arena as a developmental tool.

Southampton’s Head of Coaching, Edd Vahid, gave his thoughts on the ICON: “Our Academy coaching philosophy encourages staff to take a player centred, holistic and phase specific approach to player development. Our aim is for each individual to receive a tailored programme of support, which takes into account technical, tactical, physical and psychological aspects of performance, and is relevant to the player’s stage of development.

Every 6-12 weeks we conduct individual player reviews. The player reviews present an opportunity for academy players and staff to reflect on the preceding period and identify objectives (and support requirements) for the weeks that follow. The review involves contributions from the coaching, sports science, psychology and education departments, and is often supplemented by video clips that highlight relevant match day performances.

Following the review, a player should have a clear understanding of what their objectives are, why these have been identified, how (i.e., what type of practice) and when they can be achieved and who can support this process (e.g., coach, team-mates, strength & conditioning coach). Throughout the review process we emphasise the importance of each player taking ownership for their objectives, being proactive in seeking support and also identifying opportunities to practice.

A commitment to individual practice has been integral to the success of previous Academy graduates. James Ward-Prowse is a good example of a player who is often used as a role model for our young players. Encouraging a practice culture is currently a big focus in the academy and we have recently secured the use of the ICON arena for the 2016-17 season to support this aspiration.

The involvement of the ICON is reflective of our efforts to be forward thinking in our approach to player development. The arena incorporates sensing technology to detect ball impact on the panels and record successful and unsuccessful strikes. The ICON deploys a range of innovative training modes that can be customised to our player’s needs and also allows us to monitor their progress over time. Working closely with staff from Elite Skills

Arena, our coaching, sport science and psychology teams plan to review how the ICON relates to game performance and sustains practice over the course of a season.”


Posted by: Aaron Gourley 

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