The Worthing College Academy of Sport is now in its 7th year and the Pre Season week has been its most intense yet. With the Colleges’ move to the new Warren site at Sanditon Way this has opened up high quality gym and training facilities both on the College site as well as the HillBarn playing fields. All Academy students went through a stringent trial process to make their respective squads and were given fitness goals to reach to make sure they hit the ground running both physically and technically.
The week involved technical, tactical and fitness training sessions along with team meetings, video analysis, nutrition talks and a session with the Academy’s chosen charity, the Chestnut Tree House, which is fully supported by each Academy player and staff member.
Men’s Rugby, Men & Women’s Football again take their place at the top table of College Sport in England and Wales with Netball and Basketball squads playing only one grade below. A new edition this season is the Women’s Rugby AASE programme, which will see the most talented young girl Rugby players in the South training and being educated out of Worthing College under the tutorship of Mark Rugman.
Squad reaction to the positive week can be seen below;
Training for the Basketball Performance Programme consisted mostly of just getting shots up and getting back into good physical shape. To the end of the week we looked at defensive principles, in order for us to be successful as a team we need to focus our efforts on keeping our opponents to the lowest possible score in games.
Coach Dom Baker, returning for his second campaign was pleased with the week “Pre season went well, with a small squad all the players worked really hard and I made it clear to them that everyone shall get the opportunity to play this season and contribute which is exciting. My season goal has nothing to do with wins or losses, if we continue to improve and work hard each week and develop as basketball players then the wins will come!”
A tough few days of rugby pre season training ended on Monday following a brutal Friday Beach session at Goring Gap. The Worthing College Rugby Programme saw numbers swell to nearly 60 students, these divided between two squads for the coming year. The quality of the applicants to the programme was high and this showed during the training week, with skill, fitness and motivation levels very high.
Rugby coach Ben Coulson said “I am very pleased with the effort all the players have put in. The improvements made by all the players impressed me greatly. There are plenty of areas that will need development throughout the season but I am very happy with the point we are starting from.”
Former Harlequins players Robert Fogerty, Josh Steggles and Tom Doughty come in along with Sussex representatives Jimmy Evans & Jack Hammond. These add to a strong group of players from last year. Coulson suggested that “This season will be tough and while there are a number of very talented players in both squads, there are no easy matches. Many colleges now are trying to follow our lead and build rugby programmes, it is nice to see people aspiring to play rugby in colleges and schools at this level. I welcome the challenge although obviously hope we are able to rise above the competition.”
Worthing have their first friendly fixture on Wednesday against Angmering where all of the players will be getting minutes. On this Coulson said “Getting matches played is important for rugby development in the local area, neither Angmering or ourselves will place too much emphasis on the result as we just want students to play. We will be playing all 50 of our U18s and Angmering have been very accomodating in this endeavour. I just want to see the young men play, they have all trained hard and the reward is to represent the college team.”
The Men’s Football Performance Programme again had been in training since August in addition to Pre Season week to ensure that the players knew what was expected of them in terms of developing their game intelligence to add to their already excellent technical capabilities. The August and Pre Season sessions involved technical and decision making based drills in addition to competitive training matches, where players really stepped up to the plate, adopting the Colleges’ effective passing style of play. In addition to this all squad members took part in a robust friendly fixture list against some quality opposition. A victory against a Storrington XI (4-2) was followed by a 7-3 defeat by an Old Worthing College Academy XI and two reverses against a Chichester University 1st/2nd XI (2-0) and 3rd/4th/5th XI (3-0).
Despite these results Performance Coach Dave Hall has been pleased with what he has seen. “These players have been a real credit to themselves. The friendlies that we set up were against high quality opposition in terms of technical capability and physicality, which these players will come up against this season at National League level. The Old Boys put on a real show, which is testament to the programme and its what this new look squad should strive to be at their level after 12 months in the programme. When looking at the Chichester University games the boys will look at the video and see that footballing wise, Worthing were the better side, but need to stay focused for the whole game to ensure positive performances turn into positive results. With the aim of the programme being to develop these players in terms of their game intelligence this new group have made a positive start and if it continues they can only improve their game to the next level.”
Academy Captain Jack Barnes was also positive on preparations so far “I feel the squad as a whole have been brought together through the pre season week and the additional training sessions, which in previous years have allowed us to influence positive team performances at the start of league campaigns. I hope that this season is a successful one and if we continue to develop there will be a chance to add to the successes that the programme has had during the last few years. The new boys that have come in show the future is bright and have bought into our effective way of playing.”
Netball Performance Programme Coach Tina Price is looking to develop her squads performances by again challenging the squads against the best Colleges in Hampshire as well as the British Colleges programme.
Price’s thoughts on pre season; “pre season for the Netball Academy was spent working on fitness, ball skills and some positional play. For a number of academy players this was a big step up from school netball.
The players really enjoyed the week and are looking forward to the new season starting with competition for places in the 1st team amongst both 1st and 2nd years. A lot of work and effort is required from the players to make this a successful season in terms of both development and performance.”
Performance Coach Mike Bridges takes his charges into another season in the BCS Elite League and looking to retain the County Cup for the 7th year in a row. Pre season has been an intense and productive process with Bridges setting up no less than 5 friendlies since the start of August. Opposition from Haywards Heath, Worthing Town FC, Tottenham, Itchen College and Barking Abbey has allowed Bridges to have a close look at his new look squad.
Bridges comments “pre season week is an important time of the year and a great opportunity to get them squad together to work on things for the season ahead. We have worked hard on shape for the season ahead. The players have worked hard this week allowing us to get plenty out of the process ready for the tough season ahead. On the friendlies “we have created many chances, which have been converted, however we have conceded far too many for my liking, however this part of the game will only improve during our training schedule.”
The new Worthing College AASE Women’s Rugby Squad are gearing up for the new season with an intensive pre-season week, which will develop the players both mentally and physically.
Players begin with sampling and being inductive in the all-new state of the art Fitness Centre, where they will be prescribed a personalised programme catering for their individual needs and requirements. They will also have access to qualified Personal Trainers which will help them achieve their goal of playing to the highest level.
Coupled with the conditioning aspect, the squad also have access to a qualified nutritionist who will run through firstly the importance of nutrition but also develop an nutritional plan which will cater for not only rugby, but individually specific to compliment the season, training and also injury.
The week concludes with the important messages about safe driving and how the players and college are helping supporting the good work of the Chestnut Tree House Charity. Both the talks play an important part for not only the development and understanding of players but also helps the College support the local community.
Mark Rugman, the Women’s Rugby Coach reiterates the importance of the week.“Pre season week is great for players and coaches to ease back into the competitive sporting environment, and plays an important role in the development of players” “We are fortunate to have a squad with a number of talented players who will all play a valuable role in the season. Therefore pre-season week is going to play an important part for the development of the AASE women’s rugby team and programme”.
At the Worthing College Academy of Sport the players are put through their paces both physically and mentally to make sure that they are fully prepared for the tough season ahead with many local students taking on the best individuals and teams in the whole of England and Wales. Another exciting season ahead for all involved at Worthing College.
Onwards & Upwards,