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 Academy vision is to provide a facilitative learning environment that inspires and maximises people development through high quality shared experiences and relationships.
The pathway for each Academy player is routed towards becoming a professional rugby player but we also help, support and signpost players to continue with their rugby journey in other settings such as through the University of Bath programme.
Ultimately, the Academy exists to provide a Pathway that develops players to Premiership and International playing standards and therefore become professional rugby players. Many will not make the top level but as an Academy we aim to equip all players with skills and experience that will help them continue within the sport at whichever level that may be.
Combining rugby with a suitable academic and career development plan is something we are keen to promote as an Academy.
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 it is incredibly difficult to get a professional contract.
Yes, the majority of our Academy Players 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 development programme that is geared 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 into the Developing Player Programme by their schools or club and if successful, players may then be selected into the Academy (U15 +) by our coaching staff.
Players selected to attend the Academy will be assessed under four main categories:
Those selected must demonstrate high potential in at least two or more of the areas outlined above. Academy athletes will be expected to take ownership of driving their own standards, learning and development by inputting into an Individual Development Plan.
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 will work closely with our relevant stakeholder to 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.