The journey through the Academy system presents a player (and the wider family) with several critical moments and challenges that they must deal with. For example, injury, selection/de-selection and being moved from their preferred playing position, amongst others, are all common situations that players may experience as they progress through the different age groups in pursuit of a Scholarship and professional contract.
Despite this, we recognise that those players who remain focussed on self-development, through a process-driven mindset, are those that are likely to remain committed and focussed on achieving their goals. Too often, it is understandable that players (and the wider family) may focus on external factors such as selection, game time and scoring as markers of achievement.
In that respect, these interviews will provide insights into two U18 players’ journeys through the Academy system, with a specific focus on the importance of process-related goals and intrinsic motivation. The key take-home messages are that the Academy journey may involve a range of challenges that are unavoidable and inevitable, but that support from staff can help you to better understand how to manage these situations.
Fundamentally, we believe that focussing on the process of development and mastery is beneficial for long-term player development.
Jack discusses how he missed games and training due to growth related injuries as well as the challenge of playing out of position.