Jane Powell, National Talent Development Manager, would like to give a update on the England Talent Pathway and Performance Programme.
After four years of being at English Lacrosse I wanted to take a moment to let everyone know where we are with our talent pathway and performance pathway, reflect back on the successes of the last few years and look forward to the exciting times ahead.
At the end of 2017, The English Lacrosse Talent Pathway programme is now being delivered to nearly 450 young people, empowering the individuals with the knowledge and experiences to be an elite athlete.
We have 275 Girls in the Regional Academies, 66 in the National Academy and 95 boys in the Academy system.
From a decision-making/question led coaching programme; lifestyle, nutrition and hydration education; suitable strength and conditioning programmes; a phased approach to performance preparation and mental toughness, we are building the players’ understanding and improving their own capabilities to perform.
The next phase for the Talent development is to continue to work with and develop the coaches to consistently produce a decision-rich coaching environment.
With the U19 Girls World Championships in 2019, the programme has been further developed under the guidance of Nicky Budd with the U19 winning the festival for their age group at the 2017 FIL Rathbones World Cup against strong international and American opposition.
The depth of players is so strong we were able to enter three teams to compete at the World Cup Festival and we again won the Home Internationals Tournaments in Wales in April.
The U19 boys are just commencing their programme and Ryan Garnsworthy has been appointed Head Coach, ably supported by Vince Cara and Mike Armstrong with preparations already underway for 2020 with the recent U17 Tour to Baltimore.
The highlight of this last year was definitely the bronze medal performance by the Senior Women at the home World Cup and has given a good platform to continue to develop the squad through to 2021.
Phil Collier has been re-appointed Head Coach and Lara Owen will continue to be the Team Manager offering vital stability looking forward.
Moving on to 2018, the programme will be a busy one for the Performance and Talent squads with multiple tours and Championships.
Of course the Senior Men enter a World Championship year and are off to Portugal in January to start formulating their specific plays for Israel World Championships with a number of scrimmage games against Haverford College.
The Men will then travel to Israel for a week’s acclimatisation and series against the hosts and Germany which will be extremely beneficial in becoming accustomed to their surroundings ahead of July.
The Men’s squad have a good team of coaches with Tom Wenham ably assisted by Ravi Sitlani, Ben McAllister and Sam Glover who guided the group to Gold in 2016 European Championships and wil be working hard to achieve success next summer.
We are also delighted to have been able to recently bring in John Tucker, a US Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductee, as Head of Men’s Performance to assist Tom and the rest of the squad which will no doubt add invaluable insight and experience.
The squad has just been announced following the Winter Classic and I am sure the excitement and anticipation will only build as we get closer to the event.
In June, we embark on a new first for our Performance programme with U23 Tours to Japan led by new Head coaches Alex Carnegie-Brown and Richard Gartisde.
This will be a good stepping stone for all those players with aspirations of playing for the senior squads in the future and also playing in an unfamiliar environment against Japanese sides with a very unique playing style in front of potentially large crowds should be a fantastic experience.
The Girls U19 squad will compete in another new first for the talent programme, competing in the inaugural European U20 Championships in Poland in August and this will be good tournament experience prior to the following year’s World Cup in Canada.
Whilst this is a comprehensive programme, the National squads still receive little to no funding and they continue to give freely of their time and pay for the honour of representing their country.
The coaches and management teams are also giving freely of their time and expertise and it would be great if we could find enough funding to cover all the expenses for this.
We have received good support from sponsors such as STX and Player Layer and I would like to thank all the many volunteers and staff who have contributed to making the last four years so pleasurable.
The aim for the next four years is to maintain our position as number 1 in Europe, stay in the very competitive Blue Division for the men and consistently make the semi-finals of World events for the Women.
Happy Christmas to you all and on to a busy and productive 2018