U13 / U11 player development and the wider promotion of the new talent development system will be carried out through English Lacrosse Club and School development programmes. Selection processes will be clear and published, informing athletes (clubs, schools and parents) on how they can get involved and progress to the next level of the pathway. The Academy staff will provide support for school teachers and club coaches in exchange for player development support.As a complementary service to the community game, Academy coaching clinics will be held at U11, U13, U15, U17 and University levels. The aim will be to:
- offer coaching sessions for players, highlighting the skills, drills and tests used to select individuals for entry to the Academy system,
- demonstrate the skills, drills and tests to interested coaches and teachers,
- enable Academy coaches to scout for potential talented players outside the system,
- provide income generating opportunities to support the running costs of the Academy system.
At the Regional Academy level, English Lacrosse will work with regional associations, clubs and schools to establish a comprehensive programme of talent identification and player development for U15 and U17 age groups at four regional sites. It is proposed that each regional academy should select up to 30 players (maximum) at each level. The main focus at the U15 and U17 levels will be on individual player development. English Lacrosse has identified that identified athletes at the U17 age level, will form the key intake for the AASE programme.
National Academy U19 squad
The National Academy U19 squad should include around 45 players. At this level the players will focus on team development, built around a core game plan (team strategy). Competition is crucial here, and matches should be played every year, building up to the world championships in a four year cycle.
National Performance Development Squad
The National Performance Development squad will be made up of graduates from the U19 national squad, who are not yet ready for the elite performance squad, and may also contain new or late entrants to the system. The key challenge here will be to prepare players (and units) for the step up to the elite squad, and so specific succession planning should be possible with this group. Numbers will depend on the quality of talent available, but should be between 30 and 40 players.
England or Elite Performance Squad
The England or Elite Performance squad, will be the basis for the England senior team, and must be competition ready at all times, participating in European Championships and looking to peak for World Championships every four years. Maximum squad size suggested is 36 players.
Player Profiling and Talent Development Curriculum
The new system will be based on a set of core standards identified for players at each level of the pathway across a range of controllable areas. This will be driven by a vision of what is required to play for England at the elite level. Player potential will be assessed and developed under five main categories:
- technical skill,
- tactical knowledge and game awareness,
The delivery of coaching and player development will be backed by a new range of English Lacrosse resources designed to support the balanced and progressive development of players in a consistent way through the pathway.
- Annual Programmes
An annual programme will be designed specifically for each level of the pathway, based on the following cycle of activity.
- Coaching/personal development
Programme details will need to be fixed annually prior to the beginning of the season, on a four year rolling cycle. Ideally the core dates for Academy sessions should be kept the same every year, to enable people to get familiar with the schedule. At each level of the pathway, there will be an annual opportunity for individuals to try out for selection, whether or not they were previously involved in the Academy at the level below. A key aspect of the programme will be Academy Coaches engaging with club coaches / teachers and parents to support individual players in the implementation of their personal development plans.