The head of academy at The New Saints is pleased with the response from players and their parents to a new online coaching system the club has implemented for its young players during the coronavirus pandemic.

Players at TNS, along with other clubs across the UK and many other countries, are not permitted to train under the current measures imposed by the government to stop the spread of the virus.

But to keep their young players engaged and motivated, Jason Brindley and the staff at the academy have been setting online tasks for the players across the youth system.

Jason believes it is a way of giving their younger players a sense of normality during this difficult time.

“It’s hugely important to offer the children something to do in these difficult times – it almost acts as a sense of normality for them as well,” he said.

“Because we run a full programme for the academy, they’re with us four times a week, so to suddenly have that taken away, especially for young lads who love playing football, can be tough.

“I think some of the kids, certainly the younger ones, might be unaware of the severity of this virus and the problems it is causing.

“It’s a way of keeping them motivated and engaged and just ultimately giving them that sense of normality.”

Jason felt it was important for the club to continue offering some form of training, despite not being able to coach the young players in person.

He added: “It was just something to keep our players engaged in these uncertain times we’re experiencing at the moment.

“We wanted to continue offering our academy players some form of training, so we created an online programme focusing on four main aspects – technical, tactical, physical and psychological.

“These are all things they can do safely from their own home, and the idea is they have daily challenges to complete, which they will video and send back to their coach, and then their coach can analyse it and offer feedback for them.”

So far, Jason has been pleased with the way the online coaching sessions have been delivered, and has been happy with the feedback from the club’s young players who are taking part in them at home.

He said: “It has been really good so far and we’ve received a lot of good feedback from the parents and players about how well they think it has been working.

“The programme is split into two parts, so one part is for the younger players in the academy, and another is for the older lads.

“The little ones are given tasks that are very ball-based, while the older lads can also work on the physical side of things a bit more.

“We have different themed challenges which we link back to the senior players in the first team.

“For example, Aeron Edwards is regarded as the fittest player at the club, so his challenge was an aerobic workout, while Chris Marriott’s was a strength and conditioning challenge.”