To celebrate Children's Mental Health week, Academy Manager Damien Broad tells us how Newport County AFC's academy sides have been staying active during the current Covid-19 lockdown in Wales.
The sides have been attending a number of remote workshops, which aim to keep engagement levels and motivation high ahead of when players are able to return to the academy.
"While it’s been challenging for the players who are unable to come in to the academy, the involvement and engagement from everybody in attending the workshops has been fantastic.
"We try to give the boys a variety of sessions that will continue to aid their development whilst at home. Our February calendar has a number of daily challenges that the players are encouraged to get involved with.
"The engagement throughout the academy has been a real positive and it's great to see the boys being able to interact with different age groups.
"The feedback from the parents has been really positive and hearing that the boys really look forward to coming on the calls, makes it all worthwhile for us as staff.
"We have held a range of different workshops every Wednesday and Friday, with over 200 players attending each night.
"The life skills workshops, brilliantly led by Jake Hopkins and Callum Langley cover things like building resilience, goal setting, increasing confidence and from the feedback we've received, these have massively helped and supported the young persons in everyday life also, especially in dealing with the current National situation.
"Our Friday night sessions have then been led by Bobby Mckenzie Black Pre-Academy Lead on technical basics, Richard Williams Head of Medical with mobility sessions and Austin Scott Head of Sports Science with HIIT workouts. There's been a number of challenges and activities set which have got the whole house involved.
"We've also had other guests deliver to the lads. All academy Goalkeepers from our under-9s to under-18s attended a very informative and enjoyable Q&A led by first-team goalkeeper coach Jim Holman, Tom King and Nick Townsend where their experiences and journey to getting where they are was shared with the boys.
"We've also had Q&A sessions with the Newport County AFC Chairman Gavin Foxall, where players were given a detailed insight of the day to day running and operation of the club as a whole. One young player even got to ask the chairman directly if we could sign Lionel Messi!"
"Fraser Franks held an inspiring workshop in which he told of the difficulties along the way to becoming a professional footballer, Listening to Frasers Outlook and positive mentality towards dealing with adversity made it very relevant to the players and it gave great insight to the personal attributes it requires at the highest level.
"The gaffer Michael Flynn has also held calls with the lads, helping to keep up the spirits by holding a Q&A. He also shared the important message for the lads to keep working hard and to stay positive in looking forward to a return to the Academy.
"Our Head of Safeguarding and Club Director Kelly Anderson spoke with the players about staying safe and well during these times whilst offering further support should anybody need it.
"Our under-18 scholars and some of our under-16 players even held a Q&A session with our younger age groups, where they could share their Academy experiences, what it means to be a scholar and for some, how it felt to make their 1st team debut and still continue to work hard to achieve their goals."
"We are very thankful to all who have come on the calls and to all those players and guardians for their engagement, interaction and continued support of the academy.
"The academy takes pride in the '#OneClubOneCounty' motto and we've seen how important it is to support each other particularly during these times, so it's fantastic that so many people have volunteered their time to come on the calls.
"It really emphasises that sense of the academy being one big community and that we’re all in this together. We will no doubt come through this situation for the better and I for one cannot wait to welcome all our players, parents and staff back to the academy."