The GFA Development Academy exists to support the progression of the players as they advance into their adolescent years. Starting at Under 12’s and continuing through to Under 14’s, the GFA Development Academy continues to apply the ethos delivered within the foundation age groups but progressively the aim is to prepare and develop the players as they become exposed to a more challenging and competitive environment. Contact hours within the GFA Development Academy increase but not significantly as it is important that consideration is given to the increased school and club commitments within this age range.
Again, game based methodology is applied to the coaching sessions delivered, with the FA 4 Corner model once again being at the forefront of our approach. Inclusivity over being exclusive and elitist is still imperative particularly given that the drop-out rates are so significant at this age group. Living on a small island such as we do, we believe that the GFA Academy needs to play a key role in supporting the retention rates of football, therefore it is vital we continue to provide an open, fun and welcome environment.
We also recognise the importance of focusing on the skills and attributes that these boys and girls will need to underpin the next stages of their playing careers. Therefore our sessions, and any games programmes we provide, are dictated around this focus. Undoubtedly, mentality and physicality begin to play a significant role as will ensuring we maintain a competitive environment during all contact time.
Off island trips are dictated around the approach taken with the GFA Development Academy and any competitions or matches are largely chosen to challenge the player’s mentally and physically. Whilst costs and logistics are often an issue, we aim to provide match based opportunities in Jersey, tournaments in France and Academy matches predominately versus Bristol City and AFC Bournemouth in the UK, amongst others.
The GFA Development Academy is fundamentally positioned within the Guernsey football pathway and it’s paramount that the programme we provide to these players challenges individuals to maximise their development as a player and also as a person.