Over the past two years the Developing Player Programme (DPP), which the Saints Academy runs in conjunction with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and local constituent bodies, has gone from strength to strength, so much so that it is ready for a 50 percent expansion in the number of centres and into new age groups, too.
As of this coming season the DPP will be based across six centres – Northamptonshire Alliance, East Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Huntington and Peterborough, and Suffolk – with Under-16 groups established to create greater opportunities for players and encourage continued participation within the sport. A pilot for Under-18s is also expected to be launched later in the year.
Previously DPPs had been based in four centres across the Under-13, 14 and 15 age groups.
The DPP ensures that youngsters receive more frequent sessions during the course of a season and more consistent feedback to enable them to develop as players. And as the club’s youth development pathway continues to grow, the DPP has come to complement the Elite Player Development Groups that in turn feed the Junior Saints Academy.
Players are invited to join the DPP after being recommended by their school or club coaches, and the Saints will be in touch with schools and clubs throughout its Academy region in coming weeks with more information as to how they can nominate individuals for assessment.
The club is also committed to developing coaching standards across the whole Eastern region, too, with club and school coaches from any age group both able to sign up to Cascade Coaching, a free development programme that contributes towards the RFU coaching licence’s continuing professional development, and put their name forward as a DPP coach. Cascade Coaching’s first session is in Cambridge on Wednesday, July 29th, with three further masterclasses to be held during the season.
Elite Player Development Group manager Ross Stewart says that the DPP expansion represents and exciting and notable step forward for the club.
“The DPP has become an excellent framework in how we develop young players, both in terms of how they grow as individuals but also in how it encourages us as an Aviva Premiership club to work with our local constituent bodies and sub-counties and the RFU,” he commented.
“It has grown rapidly, which is reflected in our decision to expand the number of centres to six. This gives us the ability to work with more players, expanding our own pool of talent and encouraging more youngsters to stay in the sport.”
For more information about the DPP and how you can nominate players from your club or school email Ross Stewart – [email protected]
For more information about Cascade Coaching email Saints Academy coach Jon Curry – [email protected]