Academy Manager Ricky Duncan has been putting on zoom calls with all age groups of the Academy to keep in touch and see how they’re doing during lockdown.
For the last month the Academy players have had challenges set which they have taken on and developed further between themselves, with weekly zoom calls also available for those that want to join.
And this week saw the start of some guest speakers, such as John White, Nathan Bishop and Dru Yearwood, join onto them for discussions on the game and Q&As. (Watch the John White chat below)
Duncan said he’s delighted with how it’s going and how it’s brought the Academy closer together.
"I’ve made it available to anyone who wants to join it and it’s up to them if they do,” he explained.
"I do them in age groups and there’s time slots for each one, sometimes four or five a day.
"First, we all find out how everyone is and what they’ve been doing with their parents this week, and they chat about that.
"Then they talk about their challenges that they’ve been doing either in their garden with the ball or it could be a 5km run they did. They write it all down as they do it so they can feed it all back to us.
"Some have had haircuts and some haven’t so we have a bit of a laugh where they’ve been coming on with skinheads and their mums have cut their hair!”
And Duncan felt it was time to freshen things up this week, with the introduction of some guest speakers to impart their knowledge."
Initially it was just the boys coming on and telling us what they’ve been up to but I felt like it was getting a little bit stale, so I decided to bring in some guest speakers.
"So far Nathan Bishop, John White, Dru Yearwood have all come on, Alex Woodyard is going to do it next week, I’ve spoken to John Ruddy who I know well, I think Dan Bentley will do it and hopefully Isaac Hayden too.
"Nathan was brilliant. Some of the questions he had from the U9s, 10s, 11s were great.
"They were asking “what’s your day like?” and he said he’s in at 8am, he doesn’t start till 10:30am but he’s still first in, last out. He talked about his power rather than his strength, talked about the gym, about his diet, his story about when he went to England. The kids loved it.
"I’m tapping into all the players that we’ve had here in the past a couple of other ones that I know so there will be more to come and we’ve seen some really good participation from the boys which is great to see.”