Continuing our celebrations on Employer Tuesday, Northampton Town have also demonstrated their commitment to developing skills for life for the apprentices undertaking the two-year apprenticeship programme at the club.
Since the beginning of the season, the Cobblers apprentices have been taking part in ‘Competitive Edge’ sessions twice a month. During these sessions, the U18s squad enjoy a mixture of classroom and practical based activities that focus on a wide range of skills that can be implemented into daily life, both in a sporting sense and away from the pitch.
LFE headed down to Northampton in October to witness a Competitive Edge session first-hand. On this particular day, the morning session was classroom based with the apprentices focusing on the psychological side of the game, looking at how they feel and react in different situations and the potential inner influences on performance, most notably, emotional intelligence.
In the afternoon, the young Cobblers were thrust into a series of practical team-building activities. The first activity was an outdoor activity called ‘Gutter Ball’ where the players were tasked with transferring a small ball from point A to B by connecting gutter pipes. This task required them to utilise their communication and planning skills by coming up with a successful strategy in their attempt to eventually transfer the ball into a bucket.
Their second strategy-based practical task also required lots of communication and planning. This activity involved a large, chequered floor mat with a start and end point. After being split into groups, each team was required to figure out the route across the board through trial and error, and consultation with a session leader.
After the session, 18-year-old midfielder Jacob Scott said: “I really enjoy the sessions and I think the rest of the lads do as well, they’ve been really beneficial to us. They improve our relationships with each other but also improve how we perform on the pitch. Today we learnt about emotional intelligence and that’s really key on and off the pitch. All round positivity comes from these sessions.”
Head of Education, Pete Stephenson, added: “The link up with Competitive Edge has really highlighted the many transferable skills that the boys are developing as footballers that could support them not just on the pitch but off the pitch alongside and after football. They are able to learn about their strengths and areas to improve in an interesting and fun way and they are reflecting on areas that are highlighting how their experiences gained as young footballers can help them be successful in the future. We have been very fortunate to have Mark Thompson and the Competitive Edge team come in regularly to work with the boys, and they are gaining so much knowledge about themselves and their skillset to use going forward.”
LFE supports the fantastic work clubs like Northampton Town do by providing tailored and specific personal development and life skills sessions in clubs. Over the past 20 years, LFE has delivered over 7,500 workshops, reaching in excess of 150,000 people in the process.