Knights praised for ‘Outstanding’ Excel Programme!

Published: 20 December, 2017 - 10:35 am

The York City Knights Excel programme has recently been rated as ‘Outstanding’ by the Rugby Football League.

The Excel programme which forms part of the Rugby Football League Player Development Programme which believes that every young player from 12 years of age is on the England Talent Pathway. This programme works both with young players from the age of 12 and coaches to support them in reaching their potential.

To become an ETP Delivery Partner a professional club must deliver a series of continued professional development (CPD) for coaches and open access development days for players. This sits within the ETP philosophy to develop coaches to develop players.

The open access development days are for all players which gives them the opportunity to attend professionally staffed events that form the first step on the England Player Pathway. These sessions contain mental skills training, movement skills training, coachability and game sense.

In the first year the Foundation ran the ETP programme at York St John University Sports Park, in the school holidays where short open access sessions regularly throughout the year. These sessions covered areas such as lifestyle strength and conditioning as well as core skills. Following the first year, which was rated as ‘Good’ by the RFL, the Foundation undertook a process of evaluation and reflection on ways to improve both the experience for young players and the effectiveness of the delivery.

Following this process the Excel programme was created as the vehicle to deliver the York City Knights England Talent Pathway Programme. The core elements of Lifestyle, Strength and Conditioning and Skill Development continue but with session being held in blocks of 6 consecutive weeks to ensure a better impact of the delivery and experience for the young players.

The programme is coordinated by Adam Prentis and he leads a team of volunteers coaches and professionals who each deliver sessions in their areas of expertise. Quality coaches deliver the field sessions however the Strength & Conditioning and lifestyle sections are each delivered by specialists in their fields.

Coach Education elements are planned to be delivered to existing coaches over the winter months when the clubs are out of season and will form part of a wider York City Knights coach education offer which supports the community game across the area.

Registrations there have been over 120 registrations across 4 age groups in 2017 which is a great success and highlights the need for such an opportunity locally. These sessions have been supported with guest appearances from a number of graduates of current Knights olayers and previous Knights players including Greg Minikin, Alex Foster, Kris Brinning and Ed Smith as well as former coaches such as Mick Ramsden.

Adam Prentis, York City Knights Delivery Manager, said “the Excel programme has been a fantastic success this year which is due to the incredible commitment of our volunteer coaches and trainers as well as the brilliant attitude of the players themselves. We aim for all young to reach their potential and the Excel Programme pathway will give them that opportunity to develop themselves as players.”

Neil Gulliver, Foundation Manager, said “The Excel programme has been a real highlight and success story for the work of the Foundation this year and to be rated as Outstanding by the RFL is a worthy recognition of the superb work Adam, coaches and volunteers have put in this year which will continue into 2018 and beyond.”

Anthony Atherton, RFL National Talent and Participation Manager, said “Following the Autumn 2017, self assessment we’re delighted that the York City Knights programme is graded as “outstanding”, the work that has been put into all facets of the England Talent Pathway has been exceptional.  Neil and Adam now have in place open access development days supported by industry experts, an integrated coach education programme, that is going from strength to strength and a parent liaison strategy that communicates the programme intentions.

There is now a real and transparent pathway for both coaches and players in York to reach all levels of the sport with the opportunity to reach their own potential along the way.  This includes education provisions and a revised school strategy that will look to grow the game further.  It’s been a pleasure working with the club and the future plans look great!”

The next block of Excel will be launched in the new year with special guests already being lined up to inspire the next generation of York players.