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The Plymouth Raiders Academy, based at City College Plymouth, has announced it will be withdrawing from all formally recognised competition to play in four tournaments per year, predominantly overseas.
The Raiders claims the move will allow them to “spend a greater amount of time every week on player development, through individual and team skill development”.
“We firmly believe that this is the model that will give us the best possible results,” said Raiders Chief Executive Dave Briggs.
“Yes it’s a big decision, but with the tournaments and the additional opportunities for playing time with the Raiders Development teams, we think that the young children attending the academy will be in a great position. As well as each player having their own specific strength and conditioning student, and sports therapy student working with them throughout the week, each player will also be paired with one of the Raiders pro players who will become their ‘mentor’ for the season.”
Plymouth are in the unenviable situation of facing incredibly long travel times to all domestic away fixtures due to their location. The statement added: “Rather than often taking 1 or 2 days out of each week for travel to an away fixture in the Academies Leagues, we believe that this will provide players with a more comprehensive and complete package.”
While the academy practice sessions will all be overseen by the Academy Head Coach, Raiders are trying to bring the professional team and academy closer together.
“We want the Academy players to be inspired and develop quicker from training alongside the BBL professional players,” said Briggs.
“We’ll be giving students sports psychology access and a comprehensive and intense training programme, that will feature BBL players taking position-specific training sessions during the week. We’ve also got the buy in and support of several high profile coaches from around the UK and Europe, who will visit the academy and deliver sessions for the players.”
Plymouth have struggled to find success in domestic competitions this season, finishing 1-11 in the EABL and being knocked out in the first round of the AoC Cup.
The Raiders Academy will be holding tryouts and interviews in a fortnight at City College Plymouth for interested players, for more information visit raidersacademy.com.
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