Dale’s under 18 side began their preparations for pre-season this week, and as Rick Ashcroft, the club’s Head of Academy coaching, explains, there has been far more to their first full week back than just football.
“They’ve been in and out throughout the close season completing their individual programmes. They’ve been doing gym work and work specific to them, which has seen them taking part in a certain amount of sessions, as well as having some down time,” Rick told Dale Player.
“This week we’ve been getting ready for the first team coming back in and getting the players inducted. For the first time, the first years [first year scholars] have been on a house induction course where they’ve had a bit of cookery and they’ve been taught about nutrition. It’s the first time some of them have ever brewed up, so it has been interesting.
“It helps to ground them, gives them a few life skills and helps them interact with the first team. They’re earning their stripes to get in that environment and it breaks down some of the barriers that can be in there.
“We like them to have responsibility and roles, and it’s about them standing up to the mark and meeting those standards that we want both on and off the pitch.
“We’ve also started doing some technical work on the ball and some fitness work, so this week has been about getting steadily used to it ahead of getting back into full swing next week.”
This summer sees eight Dale Academy graduates offered scholarships. We’ll bring you more on this, plus announce the names of those scholars, next week.
The full interview with Rick is available to watch on Dale Player.