Young Terriers will use time off to reflect on previous season
- Paul Bower discusses benefit of break
- Lead Academy Physical Performance Coach highlights most improved players
- Youngsters have targets to meet over break
Huddersfield Town’s Lead Academy Physical Performance Coach Paul Bower spoke to htafc.com about the importance of a summer break for the Young Terriers.
Bower explained exactly what off-season entails for the Academy players, and why it’s key to the players development that they get time away from playing.
“Every player has an individual programme that is built around what they need over the summer period.
“They all have specific targets to meet over the next four weeks.
“We encourage them to spend time with their friends and family, but all in all they need to come back in a better place than how they left.
“Off-season is important because it gives them the chance to reset and spend time reflecting on what’s gone on in the previous season and how they then want to change some of their behaviours in the coming season to ensure they reach their goals.”
Bower’s role sees him work across a range of different areas to ensure that the Young Terriers’ physical development is aided is in the best way possible. He was quick to comment on which players he’s seen the biggest improvements in physically.
“From a physical perspective, the most improved players for the Under-17s were Neo Eccleston and Sonny Whittingham.
“For the Under-19s, I’d say Ernaldo Krasniqi and Nassim Kherbouche.
“In terms of the top end of the Academy and those who are in/around the B Team, it’s Sam Peplow and Josh Austerfield.
“Josh has put on 5kg of lean muscle tissue over the season, he’s had to overcome a lot of physical challenges in terms of playing a new position and playing at centre back. He’s really pushing on now.
“Sam Peplow has also put on a lot of lean muscle tissue and has really made an impact in B Team fixtures and really come out of nowhere and worked really really hard on his game off the pitch – he deserves a lot of credit.”
Bower was also quick to comment on both the positives and the challenges that the Academy have faced throughout the 2020/21 season.
“As a collective group of staff, players, and as a Club, we’ve overcome Covid.
“Covid didn’t really have a damaging effect on us as a Club, we didn’t have to postpone fixtures or shut down the training ground because there’s been an outbreak, so I think that’s a huge well done to everyone involved, particularly the medical team, for ensuring everyone stayed safe.
“But, the logistical challenges of Covid were hard.
“It had an impact on simple things like feeding the players, training groups, where the players can get changed, our fixtures.
“Obviously, we’ve not been able to travel abroad, so it’s affected the type of fixtures we’ve been able to play.
“It’s been a real challenge, very unique as a season.
“However, we’ve managed to overcome all the challenges and build a better platform for us to develop next season.
“On a personal note, I think I’ve maintained a positive outlook for the players at all times.
"I’ve tried to bring energy to every training session and every gym session that I’ve been involved with.”
Looking ahead to the 2021/22 season, Bower took the time to explain what the Academy hope to achieve.
“We want to solidify our standing within the football club in terms of producing players that are physically capable of impacting First Team matches.
“We want to give the best experience and the most holistic experience to all of the young players further down the pyramid and ultimately we want to make sure that all our players are in a place to leave the Club in a better position when they joined, whenever that may be.”