Laois GAA have unveiled details of a new Athletic Development Programme aimed at football players aged from 18 to 24.
The programme will provide strength and conditioning support during the season to players who have been exposed to the county’s underage development squad program but are currently not involved in selection panels at U-20 and senior.
The programme also caters for players who may not have been exposed to the underage development squads but have recently shown the potential through club performances as noted by current management teams.
In other words, it will help to bridge the gap that currently exists between minor and U-20 – and similarly when players leave the U-20 grade and are not quite ready for senior level.
It is understood that details of a similar venture for the county’s hurlers will also be confirmed soon.
Players who take part will work closely with senior football manager Mike Quirke, U-20 manager Eddie Kinsella, the Coaching and Games Department of Laois GAA and former Laois U-20 boss Billy O’Loughlin – the latter will liaise directly with the squad.
The project has been developed by Laois GAA Football Board chairman Laurence Phelan and he explained how it will work.
He said: “This Development Program will allow the selected player to access the expert knowledge of our Athletic Development team.
“They will receive Athletic Development guidance and support tailored to the playing season training cycle.
“Working as a collective we endeavour to provide the best possible service to you, our valued playing members.
“Whether you were part of the Academy system or a player who has come to the fore with their club, we can provide the assistance you require.
“Published research and anecdotal evidence has highlighted that “late developers” can have trouble transitioning to the greater demands of elite level sport.
“This programme aims to help bridge that gap. The basis of the program will be the development of both strength & conditioning aspects of Athletic Performance.
“A programme can only be successful if you, the athlete truly believes in it.
“To achieve this, we will endeavour to educate you, by giving you full access to this program, the facilities at the Center of Excellence and you will be granted access to our training app for the duration of the program.
“You will be invited to attend testing days where you will perform tests that the current panels partake in as a way of benchmarking and giving you feedback on areas of improvement from an Athletic Development standpoint.”
He also explained what those who do take part in the programme should expect to get at the end of it.
He said: “Those who fully engage with the program and show exceptional levels of progress will be offered a number of opportunities.
“They could be invited for trials for the U-20/senior panels in late 2021 for the 2022 season.
“In the event of any injuries or withdrawals from the current U-20/Senior panels, players who show exceptional progress on the program may be invited to join the current panel.
“Because of the expertise and feedback given on the programme, players who buy in and participate fully will be ensuring that they are maximizing their own potential.
“This will mean that players will be in the best possible physical condition to play at the highest level with their clubs and county. This will increase standards in football and will benefit both clubs and county.”
The initial meetings will take place on Wednesday March 31 via Microsoft Teams.
The meeting link will be sent to all those who fill in the submission of interest form by Monday March 29 at 6pm.