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Rugby ace helps Dons

18 September 2014

Video feature on Under-18s

AFC Wimbledon Under-18s have rediscovered their competitive edge with a helping hand from a former rugby star.

Under-18s manager Mark Robinson says it’s no coincidence that his side’s results have picked up recently – four successive wins – due to their participation in the Bounce fitness programme, based at Wimbledon Park.

. The feature also includes interviews with Mark Robinson, Ben Harrison, who has since made his debut for the first-team, and fitness instructor Mel Deane (pictured far right above).You Tube A video of the Under-18s taking part in a fitness class at the heart of Wimbledon can be viewed by clicking on 

Mel, who enjoyed a top-class rugby career with Harlequins, Sale and Connacht, has been impressed by the drive and determination shown by Wimbledon’s youngsters.

“I did not know what to expect because I’m used to rugby, but they have been great,” said Mel. “They’ve got a competitive edge already to get where they are now, but we’re looking at the efficiency of their movement and trying to transfer that into football. The Wimbledon boys have been getting stuck in and there’s been plenty of banter.

“We have a couple of trainers here at Bounce who have been with the EXOS company in America. EXOS have worked with the German football team and we’re trying to integrate their fitness programmes here. It’s about trying to transfer fitness skills into different sports.”

Mark Robinson said: “We’re always trying to think outside the box in terms of Sports Science for the Under-18s to improve their speed and strength. Someone I had known for a long time mentioned the Bounce fitness programme and that they were trying to get involved with football clubs. Jenna Richards (Academy Lead Sports Scientist) and Jason Moriarty (First-team Sports Scientist) came along and checked it out for us.

“If Under-18s players get called up to the first-team squad then we want them to be able to deal with the physical side of things and this will help them to do that.”

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