Hartpury link helps academy's progress
WE MAINTAINED our unbeaten start to the season with a 1-1 draw against Bristol Rovers in the South West Youth Alliance last week.
A well-taken goal from Bobbie Dale in the ninth minute saw us take the lead which we held until the 50th minute.
The draw sees us stay top of the league with a slender one-point lead from Oxford after five games.
It has been a terrific start for us with everyone contributing to the cause in different ways.
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That's three wins and three draws (one draw in the League Cup) and in every game we have looked the better side, creating more opportunities and having more possession and passes than the opposition.
My only gripe with the squad is that we haven't put teams away and got more out of games than we already have.
As we have seen with teams who have high possession stats from the top leagues in the world, it doesn't always mean you get the correct outcome in a game that you feel you should.
But this is the only way to develop players that are comfortable with the ball, play without fear and find a way to get a result from the game.
Against Rovers we had 60 per cent possession, 185 passes to their 126 and 11 chances to their six. The Bournemouth game a couple of weeks before saw us have 63 per cent possession , 198 passes to their 130 and 21 chances to their six.
Stats can be read and interpreted in different ways, but to me if we keep producing these results we will have more positive outcomes than not.
Our close links with Hartpury College and the outstanding facilities they have allows us to gain information, data and video to really analyse players and game situations.
Under the guidance of director of football Tom Radcliffe and Tim Bell (Hartpury senior coach, CTFC Under-14 and Under-18 assistant) we have the opportunities to look at their games in depth.
Take the Bristol Rovers game as an example, I gave analyst Joe Moore from Hartpury a number of tasks to look at once the game was recorded.
These included pass percentage rate from certain players (those that we had worked on during the week), our play from the centre-backs out, shielding and protection of the ball under pressure, midfield rotation and support and set plays. I know the squad like to watch themselves play and all are keen to learn from what they see on the video.
We use Thursday afternoons now as analyse time from the previous week's game and this hour or so is a real benefit and is often better than getting out on the pitch where there may be tired legs.
The Hartpury link has also seen us put a psychology element into the Academy programme, one that's in its infancy but I'm sure that will grow and be a benefit to everyone, both the college and the club.