United Academy delivers groundbreaking parent event

Wednesday 13 September 2023 14:25

Manchester United's Academy recently hosted our third parents conference, following the recent intake of new young players and the continual development of those already at the club.

The groundbreaking event, which aims to educate parents and guardians on how best to support their children through the United Academy, saw more than 200 attendees from Under-9s to Under-18s.

Presented by MUTV's Helen Evans, the conference featured several workshops with professionals from the PFA and other high-performance environments, as well as staff from within our Academy.

Keynote speaker Katie Mobed, a leading sports psychologist who has worked with Olympic athletes, spoke about ‘winning on and off the pitch', highlighting the important role of parents in defining and highlighting what constitutes success in sport. This allows those responsible to set the correct framework to allow their children to thrive in sporting environments.

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In addition to Katie, there were three key breakout workshops, with the PFA's George Bowyer and the Academy's Fi Barnes and Alex Ouzounoglou.

Bowyer spoke about the PFA Advisory Service, highlighting the services available to parents through the organisation that can support and help them navigate through some of the complexities in the Academy system, including contracts and agents.

Barnes, the United Academy's sports psychologist, educated attendees on how to best guide players through their Academy journey, detailing the role parents need to adopt in order to support their children best, as they progress through the age groups.

She also highlighted the importance of the language we use in front of children and how the way we talk to our children shapes the way they think about themselves.

The Academy's athletic development lead, Ouzounoglou, spoke about the key pinch-point moments in the day for eating as an athlete and how finding the right nutritional balance can lead to greater energy and injury prevention.

Parents were able to attend various food stations where some of our club chefs demonstrated how to prepare nutritional snacks for sport. Parents were able to try the snacks and also take away some goody boxes and recipe cards.

Rounding off the impactful day, there was a panel discussion featuring David Rainford from the Premier League. He spoke about the challenges of guiding a child through an adult environment and how that directly relates to football.

He was joined on the panel by United Academy director Nick Cox and Mobed, with all three fielding questions from the parents in attendance.