a young player takes a rest from a high intensity football training session

As we follow McDonald through his first academic year at the IHM Football Academy at Ellesmere College, it’s time to catch up with him as he spends his Easter holidays with us training at the Manchester academy. Like all the other IHM squad, McDonald is now in preparation for the Showcase Event tomorrow. 10 scouts from various clubs, including Manchester City FC, are coming to watch our players and other external applicants, show off their skills.

As McDonald himself says during his interview, he’s here during the Easter holidays to benefit from the higher intensity training as the IHM Manchester squad up the pace in the run into the Showcase Event. And what McDonald is feeling is the same desire and hunger that all the players have right now to succeed. The need to impress the scouts and coaches and to stand out from the rest is paramount. Because competition is fierce when it comes to professional football. Very few will make it. You need self-belief and good positive mental attitude to make your mark at this level. So, what advice will be giving our players before the big day tomorrow?

How to Succeed at a Showcase Event

1 Make sure that you are heard AND seen

Even as the scout is leaving his car and walking towards the training ground he will already be listening to see if anyone is standing out. Who is the most vocal? What are they saying? Are they asking for the ball? Do they sound in control? Positive? Hungry?

2 How do you speak to other players?

Yes, the scout is still only interested in how you speak and he hasn’t even seen you play yet! Are you respectful when calling out to other players, yet at the same time also confident? Can you make yourself heard and can you command the respect of your team mates?

3 Are you listening?

Once the scouts get pitch side they’ll be looking to see how players react to feedback and instruction given to them by the scouts and coaches leading the training / game. What’s your attitude? How do you take feedback? They want players who are keen to take on board feedback and learn from it, listen carefully to instructions and act on them.

4 Do the simple things well and do them consistently well

And so that means demonstrating that you have got the basics and that you can receive a simple pass safely even when you are tired. This is more important than trying to show off your best tricks.

5 Play as well as you can for the team

Just concentrate on being a great team player – don’t just try to impress the coach.

6 Confidence & Desire – Your first touch is key

If your first touch is good and you are confident on the ball, a scout can read a lot into that. How many touches are you taking on the ball? Finally, are you ruthless when it comes to scoring goals?

Finally, get as much sleep as you can and arrive hydrated and fuelled. Remember, the Showcase event can be a long day, make sure that you bring a water bottle and take water on board throughout whilst ensuring that you have the right kind of food to give you an energy boost when you need it.

Good luck to McDonald and all the squad ahead of the showcase in Manchester tomorrow. Keep positive, keep on top of your game.

Watch McDonald’s interview here