At Malvern College, our pupils benefit from experienced, expert coaching across the entire sporting programme and this is coupled with strong external club links. We have boys and girls who are already excelling or beginning to excel in their given sport and recognise and understand that in order for them to reach the highest level possible, they will need advanced support and training. Concurrent with the advancement of professional sport, to be a top-level performer, athletes are now more than just technically skilled players, they are physically polished and holistically developed to be able to meet the increased demands of high level competition.
The Malvern College Performance Pathway includes strength & conditioning sessions to develop physical competency as well as a wider curriculum that offers specialist skills training, performance education, and mentoring. There are two tiers to the Performance Pathway at the College – the Elite Performer Programme (EPP) and a Developing Performer Programme (DPP).
All pupils can be considered for the pathway, not just those that have received scholarship awards. Housemasters/mistresses, teachers i/c of sports and head coaches will liaise with each other to consider pupils who meet the requirements, and recommend that they progress onto the pathway. Considerations include; current and potential level of sporting performance, attitude, motivation, maturity, behaviour, and academic performance.
The EPP is geared towards those pupils who are already displaying the ability and potential to transition to a more professional level. As well as this high level of technical ability, the pupil should desire to play at the highest level and be mindful of a potential career in sport. Pupils on the EPP benefit from being coached with approximately a 1:4 ratio in athletic development sessions, specialist skills training, individual mentorship and up to three strength and conditioning sessions per week.
The DPP is geared towards those pupils who are beginning to display the ability and potential to progress to a high level in their given sport. As well as this improving level of technical ability, the pupils concerned should strongly wish to develop their physical qualities and performance awareness in order to further their progression and success in their sport. Pupils on the DPP benefit from being coached with approximately 1:6 ratio in athletic development sessions, specialist skills training, group mentorship and up to two strength and conditioning sessions per week.
Regardless of the programme they follow, all pupils selected for the pathway must abide by a code of conduct which includes being highly self-motivated, mature in approach and maintaining a good average effort in their academic studies.
Strength & Conditioning
Strength and Conditioning is the physical and physiological development of athletes for elite sport performance.
Fundamentally, we aim to help our EPP pupils improve in areas of physical qualities such as agility, speed, strength and power. In recent years, we have seen quantifiable changes in pupils improving these performance qualities measured through regular testing and observation. We also believe that the rate of non-impact injuries has been significantly reduced. These improvements and developments are augmented by evidence-based practice which is implemented in the weekly sessions. There are small numbers of pupils on each programme which gives increased contact time with qualified coaches. As pupils mature these coaches then deliver specific programmes in Malvern College’s strength and conditioning suite to meet the individual pupil’s needs. This training and development is supported by our professional partnerships, including Worcester Warriors R.F.C. and Worcestershire County Cricket Club.
There is also the opportunity for 1:1 strength and conditioning sessions and individualised programming at extra cost. This is regardless of involvement on the pathway and naturally requires parental permission.
Specialist Skills Training
Each sport runs specialised 1 to 1, or small group sessions focusing on core or specific skill development. This gives coaches an opportunity to impart detailed personal feedback more often than in squad training sessions. Our coaching team is highly qualified and experienced:
Mark Hardinges, Master i/c of Cricket (former Gloucestershire C.C.C. and Essex C.C.C).
Noel Brett, Head coach of Cricket (Level 3 ECB coach).
Mark Moss, Master i/c Hockey (former Welsh women’s hockey team coach at the 2014 Commonwealth Games). Mark also currently represents and helps coach England over 35’s.
Joey Turnbull, Head coach of Hockey (Investec Women’s Premier League – for last six years).
Nick Tisdale, Master i/c Rugby (former Worcester Warriors R.F.C. who now coaches their Academy players).
Billy McGinty, Head coach of Rugby (professional rugby league player for Wigan RFC. His CV includes coaching for Worcester Warriors, Sale Sharks, and Edinburgh R.F.C).
Pupils on the EPP are provided the opportunity to attend lectures that aim to equip pupils with further knowledge and understanding of professional practice. These lectures may be given by visiting speakers from the professional world of sport but may also be given by EPP staff. The lectures are diverse in nature but are designed to help the pupil understand the importance of the processes they must undertake to succeed. The educational focuses include: sports physiology, injury prevention, psychology, nutrition, the athlete lifestyle, and personal lifestyle management. The importance of performance education cannot be understated and is a very important part of our EPP curriculum.
Identifying the pressures of managing school life with co-curricular activities, EPP pupils benefit from a mentoring system designed to provide them additional support. In the Lower School this is in the form of regular contact with EPP coaches who will help address key issues such as balancing academic and a variety of co-curricular commitments. Pupils will provide coaches with a weekly planner including all aspects of their school day. The most able pupils are provided with an individual mentor with whom they meet regularly to discuss their sporting progress; this provides the opportunity to discuss any other concerns as they arise. The mentors are responsible for assessing pupils’ training load and quality of life at school, with the aim of avoiding any drops in performance (both academic and sporting) and/or athlete burn out.
Master i/c Performance Pathway: Ben Humphrys
I joined Malvern College as the Strength and Conditioning Sports Coach in 2017 and took over leadership of the Performance Pathway in 2019. I hold both the UKSCA and NSCA Strength and Conditioning accreditations and have published research in peer reviewed academic journals. My main achievements are in competitive sport, in Archery where I represented England and Team GB as a junior athlete. It was during this period that I began to pursue methods to enhance athletic performance. During my undergraduate study in Strength and Conditioning, I was fortunate to have worked in a number of settings including; South West Regional Netball Academy, Swiss Netball, Cheltenham Town F.C., Gloucester University, Archery GB Compound Squad and Gloucestershire Junior County Archery Squad. Additionally, I have worked with the England Lions Dodgeball team, and currently the England Men’s Hockey Over 35’s team. My main objective at Malvern College is to employ a holistic approach to athletic development that combines both sports science and pedagogy to ensure resilient, technically proficient athletes who are not only built but consistently challenged and encouraged to evolve.
Strength and Conditioning Coach: Simon Woodward
I joined Malvern College as a Residential Sports and Conditioning Coach before becoming Master i/c of the Elite Performance Programme in 2016. I developed an interest in improving athletic performance whilst studying at undergraduate level, which resulted in my completion of a MSc in Strength & Conditioning. My passion is working with youth populations and to try and ensure their long term athletic development in order to try and excel in their given sport but also promote a lifetime of engagement in physical activity. I have worked with talented young athletes at Blackburn Rovers F.C. Academy, Coventry City F.C. Academy, Coventry University, Warwick LTA Performance Centre and Rugby School. I have also been employed as a Sports Scientist for Lucozade Sport. Following my appointment as Head of Academic PE in 2019, I decided to take a step away from the leadership of the programme whilst still maintaining an active interest in the strength and conditioning provision at the College.