Players primarily come into the Junior Academy via the Developing Player Programme (DPP) although players can also enter directly into the Junior Academy at U15, U16 and U18 level.
The objective of the Academy is to provide a coaching, conditioning and education programme to improve the performance of identified potential elite rugby players to their optimum. The goal for each Academy player is to become a professional rugby player.
Ultimately, the Academy looks to develop players to Premiership and International playing standards and therefore become professional rugby players. Many will not make the top level but could still follow a career in rugby at club level.
One must assume that we are talking about high quality players, so therefore opportunities will still exist at a lower level, most likely in a part-time capacity, for those who don’t make the top grade. It is important for players and parents to know that at present there are only 500 full-time players within the English system, many of these from overseas. There are currently some 150 regional Academy players already in the system, and so the fall out rate will be very high, hence coupling rugby development with a suitable academic and career development plan is a very high priority and one we are keen to promote.
Yes, some are contracted, but not all the young players associated with the Academy process are.
A player selected for Academy entry will be directed into a personal development programme that is geared primarily to ensuring that his capabilities as a rugby player are maximised. The athlete will be supported by Academy staff, specialist coaches, sports scientists and other specialists appointed by the Academy Manager. All areas of physical, technical, tactical and psychological development will be supported as well as game understanding, video analysis and a competitive programme appropriate to the player's personal development.
Players are nominated by their schools or club, county coaches or scouted by Academy staff. Players can also be selected from each county’s age group representative squads.
Players selected to attend the Academy will be assessed under four main categories:
Those selected must demonstrate the potential to become a professional rugby player and the mental toughness/desire to "be the best". Academy athletes will be expected to put "rugby first" and adopt a lifestyle that will enable them to develop into a professional athlete.
Yes. It is vital that players pursue their education as well as their development as a rugby player. Rugby players retire early (normally in their 30s) and few will earn sufficient amounts to not have to work beyond that. Injuries too can interrupt a rugby career, so it is important to have an alternative career path to turn to.
The best rugby players are those who can apply themselves across a number of disciplines. Education/vocation targets will be set and must be met by all Academy athletes.
The Bath Rugby Academy will ensure that all athletes are able to pursue the core programmes. This should, in the majority of cases, involve the player taking part in an equivalent of 15 to 20 hours of skills training, technical skills development, conditioning, tactical awareness, and 'active rest' each week. This will normally be delivered during the day at the optimum times for individual player development. In exceptional cases it may be possible to manage this via a mix of evening and weekend sessions with more concentrated programmes planned into school holidays.
The competitive programme for each player in the Academy will be personally planned. The Academy Manager working closely with the relevant school, club, county and England coaching staff will advise on a programme of matches geared to maximise his individual rugby development. Academy players will only be required to play for teams/squads that provide levels of competitive exposure appropriate for this development.
Players will play no more than 32 games per season that will include:
No. There are no guarantees. Whilst the Academy will give every assistance to helping players, progress to a full-time contract and selection for Bath or England will be down to the speed of development and personal drive and ambition.