Myles Cooper’s young side are having to go virtual to deal with the challenges presented by the national lockdown.

The Football and Education students usually train out of Tudor Grange Academy, but the government’s latest Covid-19 guidelines have put a stop to that.

In combatting this, Cooper, Head of Coaching and Football Development at Moors, has employed the help of Zoom to ensure his young stars remain on track.

Aided by assistant coach, Ben Davis, Cooper has devised a fitness programme to keep his players active during another period of uncertainty.

“It’s a big improvement on what we had in place for the last lockdown in March,” said Cooper.

“We now have a fitness programme with the lads on Zoom, all in their living rooms on the floor with their mats and weights.

“Along with Ben looking after the boys’ fitness, we also have Dan (Kembery) running skills programmes to help them to work on their technique and stay sharp.

“The environment is far from ideal but we will use the resources that we have available to us to maintain the high standards that we set ourselves.”

Player Development is Vital

Cooper is pleased with the way his coaching team have adapted their training methods however he is also aware that his players are losing out on vital minutes on the pitch.

“I am a big believer, if we want to continue making footballers, we need to get them out on the pitch, we can’t be PowerPoint coaches,” said Cooper.

“To develop as a player, you have to be on the pitch, playing, working on your tactics and your technical skills.

“But I do also understand that we have to create a safe environment to play in, it’s important that the players are looked after.”

For Cooper, prioritising player development is key for when the youngsters do make their return and he asks the same of all his coaching team.

“It is important as staff to ensure we are planned, prepared, organised and diligent in what we do,” he said.

“To make sure when we return that we don’t miss anymore development hours and support the players 110%.

“When we do make our return, our aim will be the same as it always has been. We want to ensure the lads get a secure education so that they can move onto university and further employment.

“And for those who we think can push on, we can we give them an opportunity to create a pathway in the game whether that be at Solihull Moors or elsewhere.”

February Trials

Despite the current situation, Cooper is enthused by the upcoming February trials and is encouraged by the interest shown from potential new recruits.

“At the moment recruitment for Football and Education for next year is going well,” he said. "We’ve had about 50 enquires so far.

“Unfortunately due to Covid-19 we had to cancel the October trials, so it’s fantastic to have such a large uptake before our February trials have even taken place.

“In previous years we’ve had a number of players come out of Birmingham City and Coventry City. Harvey Siddall and Toby Scott being a prime example of this. Toby is now my u18 captain.

“Moors is a brilliant opportunity for players who may have been released from clubs. We want them to keep playing football, we don’t want them to fall out of love with the game.”