4 Mar, 16:59
Eight Leinster Academy players were today awarded their QQI Diplomas in Professional Rugby at a special ceremony in the President's Room, in the RDS having graduated from the Academy after three years.
Marcus Ó Buachalla
They are identified and monitored through the elite development programmes at U-16, U-17 and U-18 level. In this period players are educated in core rugby and fitness modules and monitored when playing. It is from here that they are nominated to a sub Academy squad for 12 months, provided they have completed their secondary education. This gives them an opportunity to train and develop in a suitable environment. It is in this 12-month period that the main screening of players is undertaken and players with the playing potential and right attitude are selected onto the Academy.
The Leinster Academy Programme is a 3-year programme, the Programme is divided up into 4 sections.
Principles of play - Match Analysis - Skill Development - Unit Skills
Game Appreciation - Functional Role Analysis - Individual Skills - Team Skills
Game planning - Key Factor Analysis - Mini Unit Skills - Positional Skills
Fitness Principles - Flexibility and Medical Fitness
Strength and Power - Nutrition and Recovery Strategies
Speed and Power - Rugby Specific Conditioning
Fitness Testing - Ergogenic Aids
Programme Monitoring and Injuries - Multi-Fitness Endurance
Motivation and Goal Setting - Mental Skills
Profiling - Pre-Match Routines
Physical Relaxation - Travel and Competition
Media Skills - Time Management
Drugs and Testing - Financial Management
Leadership - Public Speaking
Agents and Contracts - Further Individual Development
The Academy year starts in June with a 10-week pre-season period. During this time the main physical condition and generic modules are completed. The in-season also provides opportunities with players completing two / three weights session, one speed and one technical session per week. In addition players complete match evaluation sheets and video analysis sessions. While in the programme, players experience working with senior professional squad and management.
All players in the programme are currently pursuing third level qualifications. To pursue a professional rugby career and a higher education award requires a high level of flexibility, commitment, time management and guidance to meet both objectives. The Academy contract allows players to concentrate on rugby outside of their studies instead of pursuing part-time employment. All training is co-coordinated within the Leinster Academy by the Academy Manager.
The Leinster Academy Board is charged with the efficient running and monitoring of the programme. Meetings are held monthly to discuss the operations of the programme, progress report of players in all areas. The Board also consider new candidates, further development of the players and issues regarding the efficient running of the programme.