Trained Brain and Sporting chance deliver sessions for the Academy.Wigan Athletic Academy apprentices took part in two performance and lifestyle sessions over recent weeks, with Jamie Edwards, who was joined by staff from the League Football Education (LFE), attending the Montrose Skills Hub to deliver a Trained Brain workshop, whilst former professional footballers Andy Jordan and Andy Brownrigg from Sporting Chance visited the Christopher Park Training Ground to talk about how their careers were affected by poor lifestyle choices and addiction.
The first session, with Jamie Edwards, was an engaging and interactive two-hour workshop, based on the principles that elite athletes are prepared to work tirelessly on their skills and physical fitness, but often neglect their mental skills.
Speaking after the session, Head of Education and Welfare, Mike Hurn said:
“The players learned a lot from Jamie, he challenged them and opened them up to new ideas and concepts, such as; how to deal with set-backs, the importance of trust and belief, what motivates them, how to interact with others, how to relax and how to realise their dreams.
“It was good to see the group taking on board everything Jamie was teaching, and it’s a very important topic to help their wider development, not just as players, but as people too.”
The second session, hosted by Andy Jordan and Andy Brownrigg , Sporting Chance, delivered hard-hitting and true stories.
Both former professional footballers, Jordan and Brownrigg had their careers affected by poor lifestyle choices and addiction. They discussed the hazards and dangers of addictions, and the denial which sometimes accompanies them.
Sporting Chance is a registered British based charity, first set up by former Arsenal and England football captain Tony Adams to provide a specialist addiction and recovery facility for athletes.
Speaking after the session, Mike Hurn added:
“It was great to have Andy and Andy in to speak to the players about some very serious issues, it was an excellent opportunity for the lads to learn, and the feedback from them afterwards showed that they were enlightened by the experiences the two Andy’s had to share.”
Head of Academy, Gregor Rioch also stressed the importance of these sessions, adding:
“We’re keen for young players to make it at highest level, but it’s also important that they are top class individuals. We’re trying to develop future Premier League players at the club, but it’s also equally as important for them to be Premier League people.
“Mike Hurn does a great job putting on life skills programmes for our apprentices, and Jamie Edwards has been in before. The lads always take something from him because he’s outstanding at what he does.
“The talk from Sporting Chance covered a wide range of welfare issues and was very important.
“The lads know they've got support from club and the PFA and should they ever need advice, it's great that Sporting Chance is there to help.”
As part of their performance and lifestyle education programme during their two-year apprenticeships at the club, the players will also be educated on topics such as finance, careers, sexual health, equality and diversity, community work and programmes, media and communication skills, social media training, healthy living, driver awareness and road safety, and much more.