The Huddersfield Giants Academy is a full-time Academy, based at the Huddersfield Giants Training Centre (GTC).
The Giants Academy moved from a part-time to full-time Academy in October 2014, and provides for players aged between 15 and 19.
Alongside their base at the GTC, the Academy uses Leeds Road Sports Complex for training and the Zone Learning Centre for educational purposes.
The Giants Academy’s aim is to produce players for the Huddersfield Giants first team and Super League, as well as address educational needs for players’ post-career options. The Academy have a player-centric and holistic view to player development.
By synchronising player development, sports science and education, the Giants Academy aims to ensure a high quality environment for all its players and staff. The approach also builds into their development 2nd chance contractual opportunities and educational career path contingency plans.
The Giants Academy is constantly striving in ‘the pursuit of excellence.’
We pride ourselves on the holistic, player-centric approach. The Giants Academy believe contact time is key to players’ development and success.
We also believe education is just as important and technical and tactical development for players and insist on a high standard educational achievement to try and do as much as possible to help our players attain success.
The Giants Academy is split into two age categories, the Under 16s and Under 19s.
The Under 16s Scholars currently play eight games in the programme and have a minimum of four hours contact with Giants coaches and staff per week. This includes, technical and tactical training, athletic and physical strength development sessions, workshops and regular individual appraisals.
The Under 19s mirror - where possible - the first team with their fixture schedule, and are part of the Academy on a full-time basis. Under 19s will spend a minimum of 16 hours a week with the coaches and Strength and Conditioning staff, working on weights, skills, video sessions, injury markers, movement preparation and functional movement correction.
Together with 16 hours of physical training, players in the Under 19s Academy undergo 16 hours of education at the Zone.
Working with education partners Loughborough College, the Giants provide full-time Academy players with a Performance and Excellence Pathway BTEC Level 3 Extended in Sport and Exercise Science.
Teaching is done at the Zone in Huddersfield, and covers psychology, physiology, biomechanics and nutrition.
In conjunction with the BTEC, players will undertake a portfolio-based Advances Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence.
There is extra value added by the extensive nature of the Huddersfield Giants education programme.
Over recent years the Giants Academy has provided a number of players for the Huddersfield Giants first team, including Nathan Mason and Kruise Leeming.
Giants regulars Michael Lawrence, Jermaine McGillvary and England International Leroy Cudjoe all came through the Academy. Recently from the Academy, first-team contracts have been awarded to Sam Wood, Darnell McIntosh and Matthew English.
Working alongside Head of Youth Development Andy Kelly and Player Performance Manager Steve Hardisty, the Huddersfield Giants Academy has a number of members of staff dedicated to helping develop potential stars of the future.
Under 19s Head Coach Luke Robinson coaches and works with players in the Senior Academy. Players will also have a dedicated specialist Strength and Conditioning Coach in Adam Megretton.
The Giants Academy has access to a number of high quality facilities for players and coaches utilise.
The current programme facilities are based around the first team environment at the Giants Training Centre for physical delivery, allowing Academy players to fully integrate for the first team, while academic studies take place at the Zone, a high quality learning environment.
The RFL’s 2015 Academy Accreditation Report awarded the Huddersfield Giants Level 2 Academy status.
The report, which monitors the performance and progression of the 11 UK-based Super League clubs’ junior development programmes, saw the Giants earn “good” Academy status, narrowly missing out on Level 1.
In two of the three sections academies are marked on, the Academy received “outstanding” marks, with a Level 2 grading in the other, resulting in an all-round grading of a Level 2 “good” Academy status.
The statement from the assessors read: “Huddersfield Giants have made significant progress since the last accreditation and has started to embed some outstanding processes, which will enhance the club’s reputation of a “good” academy. The management and youth leaders have invested heavily into the process and systems and this has enabled them to achieve outstanding marks in certain areas of their delivery. Their full time training programme will further accelerate the players’ progression and development within the clubs academy system, which will increase players’ opportunities in gravitating towards their first team and Super League.”
The accreditation report saw another year of improvement for the Giants Academy, with the improvements made over the last two years highlighted below.
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