Liverpool St Helens FC has taken the next steps in developing the stars of tomorrow by launching the Liverpool St Helens Centre of Excellence. To follow on from the amazing growth of the mini and junior section in the last 5 years which now has opportunities for all ages from 6 upwards including both an U13, U15 and U18 Girls squad, the club has taken the unique steps to provide a player development programme for local rugby players aged 13 to 18.
Liverpool St Helens has recognised that the steady flow of rugby players from South West Lancashire reaching regional and national recognition has been reduced to a trickle and it aims to reverse this trend with a system unique in club rugby in the Merseyside, South Lancashire and Cheshire region. The programme aims to provide a pathway for players with potential to achieve at Lancashire County, RFU Schools of Rugby and the North West Academy at Sale Sharks.
The Centre of Excellence (CoE) is a player development programme which concentrates on developing each individual player and not teams. The core components will be skill development in areas such as handling, running, continuity, defence and decision-making with sports science input such as conditioning and nutritional advice in a developing link with the local universities.
The CoE will take place twice a month at Moss Lane, home of Liverpool St Helens, and will provide a support structure for each individual away from their team environment. Each scholar within the CoE will be managed via a Training Diary system enabling a balanced lifestyle taking into account school work, other sporting activities, injury management and rugby training with expected input from all those with an interest in the scholar. A Mentor will also be assigned to each scholar to assist in the process and enable the potential to be achieved as smoothly as possible.
Initially the CoE will be for players from within the club’s own junior section and those from schools with existing links such as Cowley, De La Salle and Rainford Schools and Liverpool College, with the potential to widen the intake if other schools and clubs wish to work in partnership. The key is to develop individuals from the area and not to focus on any team development hence this is 100% not a recruitment drive – in fact any player within the CoE will not be allowed to leave another rugby union club to play for Liverpool St Helens. There will also be a Coach Development element to the programme with a series of workshops and sessions running to develop coaches from clubs and schools from the area based on the CoE curriculum aimed at improving the knowledge of local coaches.
The Liverpool St Helens Centre of Excellence has been supported by a five figure investment by Sport England Sportsmatch along with sponsorship from Brixton plc and Catalyst Management and is recognition that the oldest open rugby club in the world (established 1857), and one that saw Kevin Simms (a current LSH junior coach and club doctor) and Sky Sports pundit Dewi Morris represent both the club and England in the late 1980’s, is further looking to the future in seeking to develop the next generation of talent from the local area.
Martin Jones, Director of Rugby at Liverpool St Helens, commented “This system will hopefully be the missing piece in the jigsaw. A tremendous amount of time and effort is spent not only at LSH but at many clubs and schools developing teams and providing for the participation of many young rugby players. The majority of this is done by willing volunteers without the time to provide opportunities for individual development on top of everything else they do. We aim to provide this function to enable more local youngsters to access the professional systems in place further along the player pathway where currently they are falling short.” Jones is hoping to call upon a number of guest coaches from professional sport and also a number of former players at Liverpool St Helens to support the Centre of Excellence.
For more information please contact::
Martin Jones, Director of Rugby at Liverpool St Helens, on 07540 777024 or Liverpool.email@example.com
Liverpool St Helens FC, Moss Lane, St Helens WA11 7PL – 01744 25708
Sportsmatch is funded by Sport England to support the development of grassroots sport in England. It makes awards to organisations running projects aimed at increasing participation in sports at community level.
Sportsmatch can be contacted via 08458 508508 or www.sportengland.org/funding/sportsmatch