Frequently Asked Questions
HOW DO I ENTER THE SHARKS ACADEMY?
Sharks Academy players at all levels are identified through the Sale Sharks Regional Development Programme, and latterly through the club's network of scouts and they regularly review school games.
WHAT QUALITIES DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A PLAYER?
While there is no set criteria in selecting Academy players, scouts and management will only recruit players whom they consider to have a realistic chance of playing rugby at a higher level for Sale Sharks via following the Player Pathway like above. Of course, each position requires slightly different attributes. Desired traits include but are not limited to; high technical ability, athleticism, physical ability and potential, work ethic and willingness to learn, adaptability, determination, communication skills, game understanding and exceptional or unique talents.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BEING IN THE SHARKS ACADEMY?
The academy is a player centred organisation, committed to excellence.
We have a three-stage approach, which will benefit young rugby players. Players will prepare for high-level RFU competitions at the Sharks training ground, and get ready for a hard battle. They will play games in these competitions against their respective age groups across the country. Then, by working together in an environment of equity, integrity and openness, the coaches will review the game with the players. They will offer advice and give the players training programmes, which are carefully managed by our coaching staff.
Academy players get full use of the state-of-the-art gym and conditioning equipment, while also being placed on fitness and nutritional regimes that are implemented by the first team.
Senior Academy players train full time alongside the senior squad, which boasts countless current internationals and players vastly experienced at the very pinnacle of the club game, with carefully managed programmes.
ARE ACADEMY PLAYERS CONTRACTED TO THE SHARKS?
While all Academy players are registered to Sale, they are not all necessarily contracted to the club. Only players in the Senior Academy aged 18 plus are contracted or supported by bursaries to remain in theie education studies. Junior Academy players under the age of 18 and SPG players are not contracted.
WILL I STILL GO TO SCHOOL OR COLLEGE?
Yes. While education and qualifications can provide a fall back for those who don't make the grade, the Sharks also believe that it is important for their players to have a focus and interest in something other than rugby. By using education as a switch off from the game, young players can keep their minds fresh and also plan for their future after rugby. Even those who join the club full-time after school or college are encouraged to further their education and the club continues to help players who pursue a part-time university degree or course. The Rugby Players' Association (RPA) also work closely with the players to reach objectives academically and vocationally.
CAN I STILL PLAY FOR MY SCHOOL OR CLUB?
The Sharks Academy management believe the best way for a player to develop and learn is by playing rugby. That said; the team are also keen to ensure that a player's time is managed effectively and so appearances for other teams will be managed on a player-to-player basis in order to avoid placing too high a workload on any individual. This applies not only to the amount of matches they will play in, but also the amount of training they do with the club.
AS A PARENT, WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?
The main role of a parent in any young players' development, particularly those in the Sharks Academy, is to support but not manage their child's rugby development. It is vital that a degree of independence is placed upon the player to learn for themselves and implement the routines and programmes devised for them by the expert coaches and conditioners. Of course, parents can provide encouragement, motivation and assistance to follow the correct guidelines, particularly nutritionally and fitness-wise, but ultimately it is down to the individual themselves to maintain the necessary discipline.