Academy coaches looking to challenge players on pre-season camp
Kris O’Leary and Byron Anthony hope a pre-season trip to the Lake District will take Swansea City’s academy players out of their comfort zones and provide them with a beneficial experience to carry into the 2021-22 season.
The under-23 and under-18 squads set off on Sunday for their camp in Cumbria, where they will spend the next three days.
A number of team-building exercises are planned, with players and staff alike set to get the opportunity to explore the great outdoors while engaging in activities designed to test on a number of fronts.
Coaches O’Leary and Anthony are preparing for their first full seasons in charge, having taken on their roles in a coaching restructure in March.
And they are both enthusiastic about the benefits of working in unfamiliar surroundings and circumstances, even if they are reluctant to give away too much to their players ahead of the journey to the north-west.
“We did a recce of it back in the middle of May and I was a little bit dubious about it to start with, to tell you the truth,” said O’Leary with a smile.
“I think it will see people out of their comfort zones, including myself. I also think it will be enjoyable.
“But it is about togetherness, we know a lot of other clubs have used it and there are little aspects we get there that we probably could not get on the training pitch.
“We talk about wanting to develop players as people, as characters, as leaders and we want to be getting that out of them.
“Working together is a big part of this, and if you have that off the field then you will get it on the pitch too.
“Pre-season is so important, I have always said it. These are weeks you can never get back and if you get a good pre-season the chances are you will have a good season.
“The more time you spend together in different environments, is vitally important. Byron and myself have only been here since March and – after a few weeks – I am more than ready to go.”
“We have a lot of new players in the building so this will be an important few weeks for us,” adds Anthony.
“I did this as a player, and I think having that bond and togetherness, and giving players responsibilities outside of their comfort zones is important when you have young players coming from all over the country to be part of Swansea City.
“There will be tasks and activities that they will never have done before and it will be challenging for them, but we want to develop them on every level.
“You have to have the life skills that go beyond football. They will work in teams, there will be some white-water rafting, some camping and navigating in groups.
“I don’t want to give too much away incase no-one turns up, but we want to help new players integrate and challenge those that are here.