Last week the British American Football Association announced the Great British Lions U19s Combine Series, aimed at being the exciting next step in redeveloping the U19s National Team programme. However, following backlash from the community it now appears the initial Combine idea has been scrapped, and a new ‘Open Event’ format put in place. These events will focus upon the GB U19 staff working with attendees to assess and develop player skills.
It was only a few days previously that BAFA revealed the U19 Combines Series, a scheme designed in partnership with Dynamic Sports Academy. The announcement faced significant backlash from the sport’s community, including a petition that amassed more than 1100 signatures to remove or reduce the cost of the event. The petition, in-line with the vocal criticisms of many well-respected Coaches within the community, emphasised that the initial £55 fee would exclude many young ballers from attending the events.
Alongside this, there were concerns about the inclusion of a third party business in the scheme, querying both the necessity and validity of DSA’s inclusion.
The re-imagined ‘Open Event’ scheme seems to have taken into account community feedback on both aspects – the cost has been significantly reduced down to £5, and the new outline of the Open Events includes no mention at all of the Dynamic Sports Academy, or combine-type activities.
Rather, the Open Events are designed to “offer an opportunity to demonstrate the skills required to represent GB now and in the future”.
While there’s far less information available about the specific activities involved the sessions will,
“…give the GB U19 coaching team the opportunity to assess and develop player skills and will include positional work and installing elements of the GB playbook. The session will end with a team scrimmage and execution of plays for the GB playbook.”
To date, BAFA have made no comment as to the nature of the relationship between BAFA and DSA, and whether the intention is to still work with the highly successful Athlete Development Organisation going forwards.