The youngsters undertook strength, power and fitness tests in the state-of-the-art LJMU facilities to better understand how footballers can improve their performance on the field.
The 12- to 15-year-olds are part of the Premier League’s Kicks community programme which uses the power of football to engage hard to reach youngsters in constructive activities. Since its launch in 2006, it has enabled thousands of young people to find routes into education, training and employment, whilst helping to reduce anti-social behaviour in the areas in which it is delivered.
Conor Heeney, Head of Strength & Conditioning at the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, led the sessions and was delighted to share his expertise with the group, many of whom he hopes could become the Liverpool FC backroom coaches and staff themselves one day.
“LJMU Performance Sport aims to provide expertise, advice and guidance to prospering athletes and sporting community organisations alike. The group we looked after this week were engaged and interested in everything we do here and how vital the support behind the players is in ensuring they perform their best on game days.”
Conor added that he hoped the visit would inspire some of the youngsters to consider a career in sport science, perhaps with LJMU in the future. “We not only pride ourselves on providing transformational opportunities for our students, but for those in the wider Liverpool community, particularly those young, talented people who might not necessarily see themselves progressing to higher education. Regardless of background or social status, everyone is welcome here and our partnerships with organisations like the LFC Foundation help to empower the next generation to take positive steps towards their own bright future.”
This was the first time LJMU hosted a session with youngsters on the programme with the LFC Foundation and it is hoped that more sessions will be organised for school holidays in the future.
Tony Cosgrove, Football Programme Manager at the LFC Foundation, said: “This is something that we’ve been wanting to do for a while and we’re hoping that this can be the first of many visits. It gives the children a chance to look at the aspirational part of their life…and gets them thinking about the different methods and ways they can improve as young people.
“A lot of them play for grassroots football teams as well, so some of the activities they’ve done, like the strength and conditioning, will help them identify strengths and weaknesses as part of their game and help them to improve.”
If you would like to bring a school or community group to the world-class facilities at LJMU’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, get in touch via the Outreach team and submit a visit request form.