Pioneering Football Vest Sponsorship Helps Local Academy Improve Player Performance

24 January 2022

With our 20th anniversary year still in full swing, we continue to seek out opportunities to support local causes and keep our Twenty for Twenty initiative very much alive. So when we were introduced to the exceptional work of the Tonbridge Angels Football Academy, we were keen to see how we could help.

Tonbridge Angels Football Academy provides 16-19 year old students the opportunity to play football full time, whilst gaining nationally recognised qualifications. Their mission is to make sure that all their students are immersed across a wide variety of sporting subjects, enabling them to develop the skills, confidence and knowledge they need to progress into further education or full time employment.

On the football side, learners are encouraged, in a sporting environment, to develop both tactical and technical skills, as well as crucial life skills that will pay forward into their futures. The academy’s goals, aligned with BTEC and FA National Standards, are to develop their students’ football abilities and fitness courtesy of a range of training and activities. They also aim to enhance students’ knowledge, critical thinking skills and practical experience. In other words, all that’s needed to thrive, both academically and professionally.

Tonbridge Angels was introduced to us by FFT Associate Greg Brown, whose son is studying sport at A Level at Hugh Christie School in Tonbridge. Tonbridge Angels runs its academy course in conjunction with the school, comprising three training sessions each week, and a weekly match with local teams.

Pioneering football vests offer ground-breaking insights into player performance

When we learnt that the academy was seeking sponsorship to fund some pioneering football vests, we were intrigued to learn more.

The vests, embedded with GPS technology, offer ground-breaking insights into the aerobic performance of players during games. The metrics relayed can be used to help players see their strengths, as well as areas in which they could improve. Coaches are able to use the data to tailor training sessions, helping students improve speed, power and aerobic endurance. What’s more, the data ties in with the BTEC course being studied by the students, and will provide valuable input into their coursework.

Our Twenty for Twenty initiative covers four themes: People Skills Development, Health and Well-Being, Charity and Social Value, and Innovation and Technology. By sponsoring 16 GPS vests, we’ve managed to encompass all four themes. We’re also looking at holding well-being workshops with the students in the future.

Coach and teacher, Tommy Parkinson, said:

“We are truly grateful for the sponsorship funding for the GPS vests. We are hoping that we will see fast improvements in players’ performance short term as we can quickly identify strengths and weaknesses, and then create sessions to help improve an individual player’s power, speed and aerobic endurance, as well as use their heat maps to get them all working better in their positions.

“Our long term goal is to keep improving our services, boost students’ success, and replicate what professional clubs offer so that we can enhance the overall academy experience.”

FFT sponsored player tracker vests