POMPEY’S youngsters are finding it’s good to talk.
And the Academy prospects are rising to the challenge of preparing their teams for action.
Academy boss Mark Kelly and coach Mikey Harris have handed the players responsibility for organising their side for games.
It may mean extra homework for the youngsters, but Harris explained it’s been a useful tool in their development.
He said: ‘The lads are producing their own game plans and giving the team-talks.
‘Part of our philosophy is for the lads to try to take responsibility for themselves.
‘We want them to become students of the game.
‘We want them to not just answer questions but also deliver things themselves.
‘Since Christmas the idea is every youth team player delivers a game plan.
‘It’s worked really well.
‘The quality of the information they’ve delivered has been excellent.
‘They can all work on their delivery a bit!
‘It’s not easy standing up in front of your peers, though.
‘It takes the lads out of their comfort zone and has been really successful.’
The task of ensuring teams are ready ahead of a match day has seen players going into fine planning detail.
Harris admitted there has been one or two surprises for staff among those who have stood out.
He said: ‘We work on three phases: In possession, out of possession and transition.
‘Then we have set-pieces for and against.
‘The lads know the format we work to because I produce the learning objectives and game plan for each game this season.
‘Now they’ve seen us do it 17 or 18 times we are handing them the responsibility.
‘They know what we are working on during the week
‘So it’s up to them to deliver the game plan for that week. What are the units of the team going to do in possession, out of possession and in transition? What are the set-pieces?
‘They can also add anything from a psychological point of view which can help the team become successful. Everyone can learn from it.
‘You will have natural leaders, but they become leaders because of their experiences and upbringing.
‘If you can give them experiences to show leadership, you can have people who surprise you. We’ve had that on a couple of occasions.’
Pompey will now look to build on last weekend’s 2-1 win against Swindon as they entertain Watford in Merit League One at Furze Lane on Saturday (11am).
Harris is expecting a similar test to what they were given against the Robins.
He said: ‘We had a good win against a Swindon team who like to pass the ball.
‘Now we have Watford, who will be very strong, but we will see what we can do.’