Leighton Park Senior 1st Team had the joy and pleasure of engaging in a workshop with ex-Premier league player, James Harper, on Monday 29th January 2024 through the Dave Kitson Academy.
The Dave Kitson Academy was created based on a philosophy of ‘Coaching for all’. Dave Kitson and James Harper, who both played for Reading in the Premier League, want to ensure that anyone in the Reading area has access to their one-to-one and group coaching sessions. Dave and James played against some of the world’s best players during their careers and can give coaching and advice based on their own experience of playing at the very highest level. We are pleased to be able to give the students opportunities such as these to build on their skills.
James Harper commented ‘I enjoyed the Leighton Park School coaching session and was impressed with the team’s attitude and willingness to learn. The team were engaged and took on board my instruction and advice’. Dave Kitson added ‘Talent will only take a player and a team so far. The best players and teams have a willingness to learn, work hard and put the team first. Myself and James both know from first-hand experience that winning a game of football is as much about attitude, resilience and effort as it is about having the best players on your team’.
The session began with a focus on technical practice, before moving onto attacking phase of play. The session allowed the team to take on advice and criticism to improve their game at the height of the football season.
First team player Luca expressed “James made a great impact. I feel as a group we learnt some vital skills about working as a team but also learning professionalism from a player who has competed at the highest level. I think it’s valuable we get opportunities to have external coaches in as it gives us a greater insight to what we need to improve on in our game”. First team Captain, Ted, added “LP have really stepped up their external opportunities that help the students to excel. With the addition of Chelsea coming in as our new co-curricular partnership and carrying out sessions with the younger years and girls’ team, it will help everyone to progress at a higher level”.
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