Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Inside The Academy: Lancashire’s success continues into the offseason


The Lancashire Wolverines have had a fairly meteoric rise. Just over a year ago the seniors were in Division 2 with a much smaller squad than the current one, now they’re preparing for the big time in the Premiership.

And this rise is in no small part thanks to the Lancashire Academy of American Football setup.
With a structure that includes players from as young as 7, the Academy boasts teams across the county from the cadets all the way up to the seniors and the offseason has seen all the clubs progress further.

First, the Academy welcomed two university sides into the fold. The Lancaster Bombers and the rookie UCLan Rams now sees the Lancashire Academy playing football all year round.

Sam Bloomfield (#21), the UCLan Rams President and member of the Lancashire Academy since his Chorley Buccaneers days, said of the inclusion, “When the academy reached out and offered us official affiliation, I was quick to snap up the opportunity. With great support from the Academy we can encourage players from our own team to get involved in Summer football, whilst also encouraging the younger members of the Academy to get involved with Universities and their football teams.”

And the Academy continues to improve.

David Gleave has been appointed as a strength and conditioning coach, helping players to cope with the rigors of Premiership life. Gleave’s qualifications include L2 Fitness Instructor and L3 Personal Fitness and his experience as Sports Area Manager for Blackburn College should come in great stead for the Academy.
Offseason workouts have already begun, with a few informal sessions putting players through fundamentals before the official start of preseason training.


But the Academy improves off the field too with 14 new coaches being trained to level one at the recent BAFA coaching qualification sessions.

Senior Wolverines’ Head Coach, Daniel Bowles said, “the progress the Academy has made the last few seasons has been nothing short of outstanding. With more and more players and coaches eager to work out and learn the team can only benefit on the field. I think everyone associated with the club is looking forward to the challenges of the Premiership.”

But with the seniors improving the continuing feed from the juniors improve too. The insanely successful Lancashire Wolverine Colts are coming off the back of another National Final appearance and are currently recruiting. Coach Geoff Leigh and his staff have been widely regarded as some of the best in the UK after repeatedly leading the 16-18 year olds to success.

Indoor training sessions are being held on Sundays from 1pm-3pm at St. Joseph’s High School in Horwich, Bolton before Christmas before they head back to their native Blackburn after the holidays. Any prospective players or coaches are more than welcome to drop by.

Coach Leigh says, “we had a fantastic season and rewarded with a national championship appearance. We had a very young team last season so I'm looking forward to see what they can do with a years experience under their belt.”

Perhaps most impressive about the Lancashire Academy is the infrastructure at Youth level. With teams based in Chorley, Burnley, Standish and Preston from the ages of 7-16, including flag and kitted disciplines, the future of the Lancashire Academy is not only secure but bright.

They recently held the inaugural Rose Bowl, a tournament between their youth kitted teams to celebrate the performances of the teams throughout the year.

With the Burnley Tornados reaching the National Finals in the youth kitted and the Chorley Buccaneers reaching the National Finals in the youth kitted, youth flag and cadet flag disciplines (as well as being nominated for several local awards recently), it is plain to see that the future is going to be special for the Lancashire Academy of American Football. 

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