YoungPro takes on it’s first bootcamp
Being involved in coaching and development is just their bread and butter and something that has always been a part of life but when Wrexham striker Michael Bakare and coach Jonathan Mulonso decided to set up a brand new training camp in East London it was about more than just football.
It was particularly interesting to hear from Bakare on his views on youth development, the academy set up and having no regrets after only turning professional at 25 years old.
The bootcamp had it’s first three day course in Dalston during the Christmas break and brought together a small group of aspiring young players who wanted specified training within their local area. The programme endorsed by YOUNGPRO will be hoping to expand across the country over the next year or so.
WHAT IS THE MAIN AIM OF THE BOOTCAMP AND WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO ACHIEVE?
MB: The aim of this boot camp is to first and foremost is to help the young player identity their strengths and weaknesses and opportunities in terms of football, essentially a S.W.A.T, without the threats cue laughter. But focus on their strengths and weaknesses not just within the game but in life as well and try to pour knowledge into them such as creating good habits, a positive mind set and their general health and well-being as well as developing their sense of responsibility and standards.
WHY IS A TRAINING CAMP LIKE THIS ONE SO GOOD FOR YOUNG PEOPLE AND THE COMMUNITY?
JM: I feel like there is a lot of young players through no fault of their own due to their background, finances or lack of support at home they don’t get a chance to get some good quality training. They’re missing out on finding out how good they can become, but only because they have no resources.
So when me and Michael first spoke with Manny and Young Pro we thought how can we best help these young players who potentially do have something in them but don’t have the access and show them how hard you have to work to gain something in life. So we thought if we get some young players of decent calibre together they’ll see how hard you actually have to work.
MB: What you find at academies and grassroots is all the training sessions are very generate, so our angle is to make it very specific to the players’ requirements to actually develop the player to fit their needs. So I think that’s one of the reasons the camp is so important to work on a players’ individual needs.
HAS FITNESS AND TRAINING ALWAYS BEEN A PASSION OF YOURS?
MB: It’s funny I used to coach Jonathan I’m only a couple of years older than him when he was in Year 11, so I think that was about my first coaching experience young players and it is something I’ve always been interested in. I’ve coached my younger brothers and starting coaching their friends where I met Jonathan and from their what I realised is when the boys got older they stopped developing because their training became less about them as a player but more about so about their size and how their growth has helped them (as opposed to technical ability). So I thought if I could start coaching and bridge the gap then the results can be a bit different.
JM: For me I’ve always loved fitness in general, going to the gym, fitness, football in my younger years but it was only when I got a bit older that I took it more seriously that I realised how much of an impact health and fitness has on people’s lives. I’ve had clients that were having difficult times in life, fighting, alcoholism, depression but even such things as group classes and being in an environment with friendly people you see how they blossom and start to interact there is so much health and fitness does in a psychological effect that people overlook.
You often see people coming into a session stressed from work but afterwards they’re buzzing. The way I see training is it’s your time to be selfish. It’s your selfish hour. You’re taking care of yourself, you’re coming here to focus on you!
MICHAEL, YOU TURNED PROFESSIONAL AT AN AGE MOST PEOPLE WOULD THINK IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE, HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO ACHIEVE THAT AND HOW WOULD SOMEONE GO ABOUT REPLICATING THAT?
MB: I would say to any young player is to continue playing a lot of players drop out of the game and you don’t realise how much practice and repetition and good habits play a massive part in your development. I had the mind set that if I wanted to be a professional I’d have to play every day. Sometimes I would go with my mates, sometimes I would go on my own whether it was sunny, raining or snow because I wanted to get to place where I could honestly say I did everything I could to get to where I wanted to be. It’s just having determination and putting it into practice.
HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO SUSTAIN YOURSELF FINANCIALLY AND FAMILY WISE WHILST STILL PURSUING YOUR DREAM?
MB: Funnily enough for me, reflecting back when I was young my parents didn’t realise support me in terms of football but they did provide for me in regards to putting a roof over my head, food on the table so I was able to pursue my dreams without having to worry about those things.
Parental support is massive when you look at grassroots you see the kids who have their parents on the sidelines they are more likely to have a successful life in general. The kids who don’t have their parents their when football becomes an unrealistic target tend to go off the rails. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have that parental support.
JM: Even if you’re trying to pursue a business that costs a bit of money and takes a while to get going if you’ve got your parents to provide those basic needs and supporting you to keep trying you know that I don’t have to worry. Some people give up because they don’t have that backing and too scared to put it all on the line but most people don’t have that backing.
WHAT ARE YOUR FOUR BIG TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR GENERAL FITNESS?
It extends your career, do it whilst you’re young. It’s so much easier to stretch that when you’re young.
If you eat well now, it makes a massive difference to your performance on the pitch, your concentration.
Your body is your gym, you don’t need to pull weights. You can do press ups pull ups. Running is free you don’t need a gym membership just set those goals and build on them.
The most important thing, you need to have good control, pass and be comfortable on the ball you that plus perseverance, determination and humility you will fly.
Borussia Mochengladbach man and East London born Mandela Egbo also came down to the event and spoke to the young players about what it takes to make it in a professional environment and also took over periscope for part of the session. Follow him at @mandela_e on Twitter, definitely one to watch!!
Stay locked to youngpromag.com for more news and videos as we hope to expand the training camps over the course of the year.
Twitter & Instagram: @youngpromag