At Everton Academy, our strength and conditioning programme is divided into ‘key development stages’ with broad to specific training aims at each phase.
The foundation phases emphasise development of fundamental movement skills (U9-U15), with progressive football-specific qualities developed at later stages of the programme (U16-U18). This pathway forms the basis of our athletic development model (see image).
By following a staged and systematic approach to training, like this, we can tailor training to meet the developmental needs for each player/group by relating it to key growth and maturation stages, and the football programme. For example, our U12 and U13 players follow an introductory, generic, body weight programme. The content of these sessions target development of fundamental movement skills, such as, crawling variations, bodyweight squats, chin ups, and jump landings, to name a few. Sessions are designed and delivered in a challenging and progressive format to drive motivation, learning and enjoyment.
Later, when deemed appropriate, each player from U14-U18 is individually assessed using the ‘Triple A’ movement competency test. The ‘Triple A’ is a scientifically validated movement assessment which allows coaches to assess player movement ability, subsequently using these findings to determine the level of training required and track improvements made. Based upon the results of the ‘Triple A’, players are then placed at certain points on a training progression chart called the ‘Movement Matrix’ according to their capabilities. Players then work their way through the movement progressions (Movement Matrix) as and when they become capable of advancement.
The ‘Movement Matrix’ allows Strength and Conditioning staff to expose players to progressive movement-based training, tailored to each player’s capability. With exercise progressions mapped out as ‘training targets’, players are provided with a stream of exercises organised in sequence to support learning and development of exceptional athletic qualities. Players that develop the fundamental movement qualities, of a squat, hip-hinge, lunge, run, sprint, hop, jump and land, and can brace and rotate (core), are generally the players that develop good agility, speed, strength and power. Developing players with excellent movement capabilities it essential to reduce the risk of injury and prepare players physically for the rigours of first team football.
Head of Strength and Conditioning