Academy update with Jamie Beattie

Academy update with Jamie Beattie

By: Emma Tobiasson


It’s been a long time coming after months without any football, but finally, Glasgow City’s academy was able to once again welcome their players back to training. Last week was the first week that saw all of the teams back on the pitches again, and we managed to catch up with Jamie Beattie, head of the academy, to hear more about the re-introduction to practice.

- Tell me more about the re-opening of the academy?

“After 113 days without football we managed to get back last Tuesday night at GHA, we kinda knew it was coming so myself and Dave (Buglass, Head of Football Operations) have put our heads together last maybe week or two to try and think of what it would look like to get the guys back as quick as possible and thankfully we’ve been able to do that, just checking all the procedures and protocols and the guidelines by the Scottish FA and the government that have been set. It’s just amazing to get everybody back. We had to make sure all the coaches were comfortable coming back and thankfully everybody was willing to come back, we’ve also had to make sure that we get the health screening questions out to the players which we’ve been able to do via questionnaire similar to what the first team is doing now as well. It’s amazing honestly just being back, to kick a ball, even for myself - I had a big smile on my face and I’m sure the girls were absolutely buzzing.”

- Has that been a struggle for you in terms of planning the sessions? Because they surely look a lot different now compared to before the lockdown.

“Yeah that’s been one of the biggest challenges we’ve had. Scott and the first team admitted it’s been really tough to try and do. From 13s up they have the two metres in place, but the government has relaxed some of the restriction now and as of next week we’re gonna try and move it onto full contact, which is good, but for this [first] week it’s just a case of getting the girls back in and getting them used to the two-metres and thankfully last night there were no issues at all. It’s a new experience for me, it’s a new experience for the players and the coaches as well so we’ve tried as best as we’ve could in the last week when we did our coaches meeting to go over different options and try to explain to them what the sessions will look like and thankfully the SFA have released a document as well, which gives us an insight into which kind of drills to take and adapt, so no it has been really good last night the coaches started implementing it and so far so good so hopefully as the weeks go on and the restrictions get less and we can get into full contact which would be amazing.”

- Have you guys been in touch with the players during lockdown?

“A lot has been down to the coaches to kind of utilise that and some preferred zoom meetings, some preferred issuing programs for the girls to use. I must say the 19s have been exceptional. They’ve been of zoom every day or every second day doing their programs, it’s good for them as well, to try and keep busy. For the younger teams as well the engagement has been quite good but again it’s different challenges for lockdown you know, some people have got more access to technology than others so we just try and make sure we cater for everybody. The last two weeks we’ve managed to get Shelley Kerr for a zoom Q&A with the academy players, and then we got Erin Cuthbert on as well, which was amazing, and Erin actually donated a signed pair of boots to one of the players, for the best question, so it’s been really good in terms of engagement that way.

I know a couple of coaches have been doing analysis tasks and sharing screen options and things like that. It’s just given us something that was unexpected but now you know going forward we can utilise that so much more so you know we’ll see if we can do that as time goes on.”


- When you’ve been in touch with the players, what have they expressed as their main concerns and/or their main thoughts?

“We’ve actually been quite lucky with the weather to be fair, I can only imagine if it’d been in the snow, wind and rain, then the motivation might’ve been even less but the way that the players have bought into it has been really good, it has been a challenge as we said but we encourage them to keep active cause we don’t want them coming back to training and finding it really difficult to get back into it, I’m sure they’ve all come back in good condition and rearing to go, we just can’t wait to get the competitive fixtures going which might be a while but once they come back it’s just that new normality as they say.”

- Do you know when you’ll be able to play a competitive fixture again?

“No, sadly not! I know the SWF are working hard alongside the SFA to try and get us a date in place but it could be mid-October, it could be November, because typically the season runs from March - November so this would be our summer break just now and getting ready to return to the second half of the season. We’ve had no guidance yet but I’m sure the guys are working hard behind the scenes and as soon as we get the go-ahead to even do friendlies or anything like that at all, then we’ll do it, but just now it’s just working hard on the training pitch and when we get that date we’ll grasp it with both hands and look forward to it.”

- This situation is obviously something that has affected everyone in football. What impact will this have on the women’s game in Scotland do you think, across the board?

“One of the biggest worries for us I guess is people adapt to things quite quickly, so they might think ‘you know what I’m actually doing okay without football just now’ and ‘you know what I thought I’d miss it a lot more than I did’ so we hope the girls don’t feel like that, we understand why they would but we are hopeful that they’re all gonna come back, motivation levels as well. But we would encourage everybody to come back and try and enjoy it because that’s what we’re gonna be doing for the next couple of months is just getting that feel good factor back.”

- And how will you do that?

“We just want to try to have sessions that are fun and engaging. The hardest thing for us is trying to accommodate sessions that are going to be fun, that are going to challenge players because we don’t want to just play football all the time, we want to develop our players on the pitch off the pitch, we want to give them challenges. But for the now we just want them to come back and enjoy and get the social aspect back again.”

- Is it hard for you and the other coaches to enforce these social distancing rules?

“That’s the thing because our coaches are always energetic and enthusiastic and very passionate about what they do and it’s hard for us to put the restrictions on them. They’re all buying into what we believe in and what we’re preaching, really, so they’re just gotta be on their toes, keep them going and eventually over time I’m sure the restrictions will ease, we just gotta stay on top of it now.”

- With no competitive games on the horizon, how do you stay motivated?

“I think the biggest thing for me was I couldn’t wait to get back! We knew the restart would happen, we didn’t anticipate it to be this long but it’s allowed yourself to kind of take a step back and realise how much you love what you do and I know we said there earlier that some of the girls might get used to it and might not want to come back but I’m hoping they might do the other thing you know if they’re maybe thinking ‘you know what actually I really do enjoy it and I’ve missed it so much’ and they come back with a new zest for the football. I couldn’t wait to get to training, I was there super early and I was delighted to see some of my coaches were there super early as well so they must’ve gotten the same vibe as me, just to go in and make sure everything was ready. I couldn’t stop smiling last night when the football was back on honestly. It’s been far too long and couldn’t wait to get back.”

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