This year's national under-17 Player Development Camp is currently taking place in Valladolid in north-central Spain, part of the progression to under-18 age grade level for a squad of 20 young players with the focus on technical, tactical, mental and physical (strength and conditioning) training.
Over the two-week event, campers Hugh Fraser (scrum half) and Stephen Ainslie (no 8/second row) [pictured below] will be providing an update on progress - kicking off here with the journey and initial training sessions.
"Like all of the boys, we were excited for the two-week training camp in Valladolid…and testing out the new Macron stash! We all arrived at Murrayfield and after receiving our kit and packing the bus we travelled to Edinburgh Airport as a squad for our flight to Madrid - without Clint Lanyon (Squad Manager) we would not have arrived with all the necessary kit and people!
After what seemed like a long flight we finally arrived and thankfully the temperature wasn’t too extreme; we then had a further two hours by coach before arriving at our hotel in Valladolid.
During our first training session we were all still adapting to the heat and began by playing some ‘fun’ touch games run by Peter Laverie (Scotland under-17 head coach) including a game which involved everyone doing a running commentary of themselves out loud, to improve communication and awareness skills. We then moved on to attacking shape, running phases in the blistering heat.
After putting on our bathers and swimming caps, we did pool recovery in a freezing yet 'refreshing' pool, led by Greg Valentine (Strength & Conditioning coach, left), shortly followed by lunch back at the hotel, which had been well organised by Richard Chessor (Nutritionist, below left) prior to the camp.
After our siesta we had our final training session of the day, where the forwards and backs split to carry out their relevant skills. From a forward’s perspective, the lineout session, which was organised by Eddie Pollock (Scotland under-18 Head Coach) and Chris Dewsnap (Regional Academy Coach) was received well by all players involved.
The main aim of the session was to ensure all the lifters could move around the lineout and be confident to call and manipulate the defence to ensure a successful lineout. Personally I found the sessions informative and push us to work out of our comfort zones, which is a good thing to develop to an international player. I look forward to working through the next two weeks and developing these skills.
When the backs split from the forwards we carried out various attacking drills working on developing decision-making under pressure, through scanning and reacting to what's in front of you. Peter Laverie ran that session. These sessions were also videoed which has allowed the players and coaches to analyse and set goals for the following sessions."