PETERBOROUGH UNITED: Academy players using science to improve

Players at the Peterborough United Academy.
Players at the Peterborough United Academy.
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Peterborough United Academy players are to undergo regular scientific testing as they make the long journey towards becoming professional footballers.

During the course of this season, a comprehensive study will take place on the U12-U18 age categories at their Mick George Training Academy base to better understand the development of physical characteristics. It will consider actual and biological ages, to establish the influence training may have on the physical development.

Club sponsor Mick George Ltd are helping to drive the initiative.

Continuous debate exists surrounding the apparent positive linkages between youngsters who are exposed to training environments when compared with those that aren’t in relation to physical development during growth and maturation. However, little is known as to why this is the case or whether it’s a combination of elements that contribute.

Neal Lattimore, Sports Scientist at Peterborough United stated: ‘’Technology and sports science is increasingly important within the footballing world. Clubs more than ever now recognise the benefits attached and are making significant investment in this area. The information available could prove invaluable in a player’s development and we are hoping that the introduction of this within our academy will keep the club at the forefront in its quest to bring emerging talent through the ranks.”

The testing protocol will focus attentions on strength, speed, power and maturation with the results being closely monitored at various intervals throughout the season and will provide vital statistical data that will be manipulated to form, develop and optimise the approach the clubs academy adopts to training in the future.

Ryhs Morris, PHD Student, Leeds Universities commented: ‘’The development of youth athletes is multifaceted and complex but importantly is lacking in terms of scientific rationale. It is paramount practitioners like myself have total understanding of conditioning and that we are able to educate those on the front line delivering such training programmes to youngsters.”

The study once complete will form a published research paper with the results also featuring in a doctorial thesis. Similar studies are being concluded at Birmingham City, Notts County and Coventry City for further comparisons and insight to be drawn.

Jon Stump, Mick George Ltd Finance Director said: “We have invested significant resources into supporting local community initiatives, many of which include sporting ventures at grass root and professional heights.

“The ‘academy’ arrangement with Peterborough United added a slightly different dimension, enhancing our shirt sponsorship of the club allowing us to be closer to the development of many youngsters in the area. It is pleasing to see that the club are utilising innovative techniques to improve at an individual and collective level.

“Our employees are fundamental to the success of the business and likewise the academy players are stars of the future for the football club so it’s imperative that the club invest to provide the best possible environment for them to develop.”