"In a quiet back street of Wimbledon Park, hidden behind a small office block is a team of specialist trainers running a cutting edge personal and team-training facility called Bounce.
The personal trainers who started this venture are all former professional athletes, and started Bounce in 2013 focusing on adults. They have trained members of the Harlequins RFC, The England Rugby Team, Fulham FC and Wimbledon RFC, triathletes, runners, cyclists and countless mums and dads. When former rugby player and the Head of Sport at Kew House School, Marc Sweeney became involved with the Bounce team, they decided it would be great to offer their elite training programme to young athletes – so they recently launched the Bounce Academy for 11-16 year olds."
‘There is nothing like this around to help enhance the performance of young athletes with potential,’ explains Phil Chesters, a Bounce trainer and professional rugby player with the Ealing Trailfinders.
I was invited to Bounce to have a firsthand look at the sports programme in action. A group of young athletes were participating in a four-day performance camp. ‘Our big focus is getting technique and posture correct, then we move onto acceleration. The Academy is based on the EXOS programme, which is an American programme focusing on technique, movement skills, core strength and acceleration. The German Football team uses EXOS coaches for conditioning,’ Marc tells me. Marc and Phil are trained EXOS coaches and Bounce is the only sports facility in south west London offering young athletes this form of specialist coaching.
As we watch the children at the academy repeatedly practicing and perfecting sprint starts and acceleration, Marc tells me that each child is tested at the start of the camp, monitored and tested at the end, and presented with a detailed assessment showing exactly where they improved and by how much.
‘Children are not taught to run properly – not at home, not at school. We teach the correct technique, movement patterns, acceleration and multidirectional speed. It not only improves performance and speed but learning the correct technique prevents injury and prolongs a sports person’s career. Both Phil and I were saying earlier that we wished we had access to training like this from a young age. There is no doubt our careers would have been bigger and longer,’ Marc says.
Not surprisingly, the interest in the Bounce Academy has been huge. The Wimbledon College first rugby team and students from the Fulham Academy recently went through the programme. ‘We would like to reach all of the local schools who have students with sporting ability in any sport from rugby to football, tennis and hockey, running and cycling,’ informs Marc. Bounce Performance Academy camps run in school holidays, and the team has also launched a scholarship scheme, which allows two students to attend the camp for free.
This specialist coaching is allowing promising young athletes to considerably improve their performance. Bounce participants learn training methods and have expert guidance to enable them to progress. It is great to see that young athletes with potential now have access to a training programme ordinarily only offered to elite athletes performing at the highest levels.