Open-door policy at Pompey Academy

Pompey Academy coach Mikey Harris    Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey Academy coach Mikey Harris Picture: Joe Pepler
Conor Chaplin could start againsyt Plymouth. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey v Plymouth: pre-match talking points

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THE manager’s door is always open at Pompey Academy.

That’s the vow from the Blues’ under-18s boss Mikey Harris, who has lifted the lid on the detailed feedback process designed to allow the club’s promising youngsters to fulfil their potential.

If there are things they feel we aren’t doing to help them, we want to hear them – it’s a 360 degree feedback process.

Pompey Academy coach Mikey Harris

The introduction of the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) – adopted by all Premier League and Football League clubs – has placed a greater importance on youth development within this country in recent times.

And with the focus firmly on increasing the number of excellent homegrown players, accountability has never been greater.

But while player development reviews are now regular occurrences – with each meeting assessing the performance and development of that player against targets set at previous reviews – Harris is happy to give or receive feedback at any time.

He said: ‘Part of the EPPP is regular player development reviews.

‘So we sit down with the players and they get written and verbal feedback from coaching staff, which is divided into different areas.

‘I deliver the technical and tactical information to them.

‘The sports science staff and the physios will deliver the strength and conditioning and medical side of it.

‘Then we have a psychology aspect, as well, which I deliver in conjunction with a psychologist, who works with the boys twice a week in a group environment.

‘They know exactly what is expected of them, which is important.

‘It is not just an opportunity for us to feed back to them but also a great opportunity for the players to feed back to us their views and thoughts on anything, in terms of how we can help them to grow or develop.

‘That goes for any of the players at any time, not just in the reviews.

‘If there are things they feel we aren’t doing to help them, we want to hear them – it’s a 360 degree feedback process.’

And Harris believes the Blues’ staff and talented youngsters working together is the best way to achieve improvement.

He added: ‘It’s not a “this is what we are telling you and that’s it” way of doing things.

‘Instead we outline our expectations and what needs to happen to reach them.

‘And then it is about working together to try to achieve those expectations so the boys can progress.’

Pompey Academy are not in Youth Alliance League south west action this weekend.

Instead, they will look to bounce back from Saturday’s 6-2 loss to Swindon next Tuesday, when they travel to face league-leaders Plymouth.

– JEFF MARSHMAN