Academy Head of Coaching Gavin Levey recently spoke to RedTV to provide an update on the Youth Academy, giving us an overview of the work being done behind the scenes to continue developing players during the latest lockdown. .
Asked about the approach taken this time around, Gavin explained that the Academy had shifted work done in the previous lockdown but changed the goal.
“We’ve been here before, so we just need to make the most of the situation. This time we will try to create better thinkers and better engines.
“We tie in the science of the sport quite strongly, digging deeper into the details of how to move, giving them visuals and using our own professional players as role models, such as the young academy graduates so that our players have someone to admire and copy their techniques that will help them for the future.
“We have also used the time spent off the field to develop the Academy as a whole, working closely with Scouts and coaches to develop their skills.”
Gavin explained that players and Academy staff have a positive outlook on hiatus from play, seeking to develop their game as individuals both physically and mentally as time permits.
“We have never used negativity when communicating with players, parents or staff – we cannot control this situation, however, we can control how good we are getting in terms of ourselves and how good we are. how resilient we are.
“It’s really refreshing to hit the pause button. We were fortunate to be able to play a lot of local games between blocks. Of course, playing time is something that young players lack, but it is the same for everyone.
“If you get into a game where you’re technically improved, mentally stronger, and physically better, you can start to see some really positive results.”
Academy players in the first team
At the end of 2020, two Academy graduates, Ryan Duncan and Kieran Ngwenya, made their debuts for the first team and were featured in the Day’s Squad on several occasions. Since then Miko Virtanen has had some playing time as well, which is also nice to see.
Gavin said: “It’s great to see the two boys start up and take their opportunities. They are doing so well together.
“Dean Campbell and Connor McLennan are on the first team, Ethan Ross had a brilliant loan spell with Raith Rovers, Connor Barron has always played an age group and he has had invaluable loan experience. It’s great to see and very encouraging for the boys at the Academy who want to follow in their footsteps.
“We see it as a collective when someone makes their debut. This goes back to the early days of their trip to the Academy; a number of coaches have worked with the boys throughout their time here, and the physiotherapists who got them in shape and the sports scientists who got them in shape also deserve praise for putting the boys in this. situation.
Former players return to the coaching staff
After his retirement from football, Tomas Cerny has since become involved with the Youth Academy, which not only helps him develop his coaching career, but has also strengthened the coaching team within the Academy.
“Tomas studied sports and teaching physical education. We want to increase our knowledge of how children learn, and someone like Tomas will definitely help us in that area and we can also help him on his coaching journey similar to what we did with Derek Young and Stuart. Duff. He also has a great personality and a real enthusiasm, and we are delighted to have him with us.
Youth Academy have also signed former Academy player Chris Antoniazzi to their coaching staff.
“We don’t have anyone like Chris at the Club who wants to be a coach and has been through the whole Academy system.
“We got Mark Emslie back and he’s the perfect mentor for Chris as he has over 20 years of Academy football experience. It’s a great mix as Chris has obviously gone through our Academy system and he still makes a career playing football, so he can also share his own experience.
to watch the interview in full, please click on the red button