The Academy is the foundation of Bath Rugby, living and working to the Club's values. Developing a supportive and challenging environment through innovative delivery, which allows the athlete to achieve their potential. Creating rounded individuals based on hard work, talent and humility, whilst consistently producing the players and teams of the future.
Players are primarily selected from both the Somerset and Dorset & Wilts 'School of Rugby' programmes and each counties age group representative squads. Players can also be nominated by their schools, clubs, county coaches or scouted by academy staff.
Head coach Mike Ford: "The Bath Academy forms an integral part of the first team squad, developing home grown players who shape and maintain the culture of the club."
Academy Director Danny Grewcock: "Together with an experienced team of staff the Academy aim to ensure the best players are identified and developed within our catchment area of Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire. We focus on the fundamental rugby skills and provide expert tuition in the areas of strength and conditioning, sports medicine, nutrition and sports psychology. Whilst ensuring that the players education and personal development are maintained as a priority."
Managing Director Tarquin McDonald: "The Academy is critical to the Club and is so important in helping to keep a strong unit with the local area and our 'roots' in and around Bath and the southwest. Many of our past and current players have come through the Academy and we are keen to see this continue and grow. We have made a concerted effort to integrate the Academy far more in the last couple of seasons and it is already paying dividends. To have the senior Academy players training and learning alongside the current senior pros has really helped accelerate their progress. Also, the values and attitude established by Danny Grewcock and his team in the younger players will stand them in good stead throughout their professional careers and beyond."
The Bath Rugby Academy is based on a three-tier system of High Potential, Performance Development and High Performance. The diagram displays the player pathway from School, Club to School of Rugby, County to EPDG to Senior Academy / Scholars.
The High Potential strand focuses on our feeder counties of Dorset & Wilts and Somerset, with high potential performers being identified through our association with the county structures namely the School of Rugby programme and county representative teams along with interaction with the network of schools and clubs.
At this stage the Academy looks to identify the High Potential performers in the u14 age group who will be monitored through the county programmes and identified for progression to the Elite Player Development Group pathway.
This programme of identification of High Potential performers continues throughout the age groups u14 – u18 to cater for the late developing athlete through our continued interaction with the county structures.
The Performance Development strand commences with the selection of an u15 Elite Player Development Group (EPDG). This group is selected from our supporting counties of Dorset & Wilts and Somerset and embarks on a Performance Development programme focusing on the technical aspects of the Bath Rugby syllabus. At this stage emphasis is placed on learning and living the Bath Rugby culture of personal responsibility, work ethic and sacrifice. This group will meet once a month during the season alongside the Academy Camps throughout the half term breaks and holidays.
U16 – U18 EPDG
This group is composed of our elite perfomers from u16-u18 who show the greatest potential to progress to the senior academy or scholars programmes. This group continues to develop the technical aspects of Performance Development, with the introduction of the physical components through a planned strength and conditioning intervention alongside a focus on the mental components. This group will meet once a week throughout the season alongside the Academy Camps during the half term breaks and holidays.
The 'Best of the Best' performers, who show potential will alongside the group sessions receive high performance individual attention in position specific skills and game understanding as an aim to fast track their progress.
All players in this group will have access to our online data base, Rugby Squad, which allows for communication between coach and athlete and for information to be exchanged thus encouraging remote learning which can only assist in a players continued progression along the Bath Rugby pathway.
This group of players will train full-time with the Bath Rugby senior squad or combine their training with their University studies. Alongside the senior squad, the athletes will continue to follow a specific Performance Development programme in the technical, tactical, physical and mental areas, but renewed emphasis will be on gaining an understanding of High Performance to allow the player to perform effectively at a high level.
This group of players train part time with Bath Rugby and full time with University of Bath high performance rugby squad. Their playing programme will involve them in Bath "A League" fixtures as well as representing the university, playing in the BUCSA league. Players from this group can progress to be full time Bath Rugby Academy Players.