PLCA's Price hails player development programme
General manager of the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA), Andrew Price, has lauded the Red Stripe Player Development Programme that was introduced in September and is already having a positive effect on the league and in the player's lives.
Under the programme that is to run over the next five years, players from all clubs will be exposed to grooming techniques, etiquette, money management and communication techniques that could see them taking advantage of promotional opportunities that may arise.
"In general, you see camaraderie and I think that is possibly the biggest thing you can see. You see players who are fighting hard for their teams on the field for those three points, but when you have them in a setting where the players from different clubs can eat and converse, there are developing relationships," he said of the programme that started last season. "And the players are very encouraged. They come to the sessions and they participate, they get involved, they ask questions. They really like what is taking place."
Price was present at the most recent training session at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston where players were made up and took professional photographs. They also attended an intense, four-hour voice and speech workshop with Paula Ann-Porter Jones and Judith Bodley during which they learned different interview techniques and how to eliminate slang from their responses when being interviewed.
"A lot of the players were shy as they normally are when they are asked to do interviews prior to games or after games, the session with Paula and Judith made them a lot more comfortable. They did a lot of promotional interviews for Red Stripe that we will see over the Christmas period and I thought they equipped themselves very well," Price said.
He added: "They were a lot more comfortable than they were in the past. What these players have to understand is that they might become ambassadors for various products in the future and they'll need to be able to speak and feel comfortable in front of the camera."
Price said there are also other benefits to being able to communicate effectively. "It is also a way of lifting their self-esteem."
Looking ahead, Price believes that the programme is something that should be continued no matter who becomes the sponsor of the premier league, because of the lasting benefits.
"It's something we would like to do," he said. "It costs a lot to do the programme like this, so whatever sponsor that we have, even though we hope Red Stripe will be around for a long time, we hope that they will continue to make this investment in the players because it's something very useful and we are looking at the development of the players outside the football field, how they handle themselves to be good citizens of the country."