Honing their football skills

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‘It’s a pathway for skilled players’
RYAN.DUNLOP
@oamarumail.co.nz
Young North Otago football players are getting a chance to hone their skills in hopes of moving on to federation clubs in the future.
Andy Lane, with the help of six coaches, has recently started an off-season academy for talented youngsters wishing to go beyond the fundamentals.
The Meadowbank Football Club Academy has been running sessions on Thursdays
and hosts 28 players aged between 6 and 11.
‘‘It’s a pathway for skilled players to expand and develop, giving them a chance to possibly move to federated club camps later on,’’ Mr Lane said.
He said an issue with some experienced players in their regular clubs was they did not know what it was like to play in a team of others at the same
skill level.
Often, when skilled players passed the ball to less experienced players, it stopped the flow of the game, Mr Lane said.
‘‘The academy gives them an opportunity to develop these better players and show them a deeper understanding of the game.’’
He said the academy focused on refining fundamentals but also emphasised technical development such as footwork and body placement on the field.
‘‘We have a saying in the club — practice makes permanent.’’
The response from both pupils and coaches had been positive. Some pupils had
struggled at first, but they were revelling in mastering new skills.
‘‘The coaches are bubbly, too, when they see the pupils get on top of a skill,’’ Mr Lane said.
He was drawing on years of experience as an English footballer and an authorised New Zealand coach, and believed the pupils and the coaches would benefit from the opportunity.

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