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MSA Academy Teams Up With Chelsea FC

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A group of past and present members of the MSA’s Team UK initiative joined the next generation of football stars at Chelsea Football Club’s Academy for a joint learning day last week.

Set up as a ‘job swap’ day, the morning saw the MSA Team UK stars training alongside Chelsea’s youth squad at their base in Cobham, Surrey, before the young footballers were given a taste of motorsport at the high-tech Let’s Race F1 Simulator Centre in Horley near Gatwick Airport.

Britain’s latest Formula One driver, Max Chilton, was joined by fellow racers James Calado, Mark Donnelly, Jody Fannin, Josh Hill, Jordan King, Alex Lynn, Alexander Sims, Harry Tincknell, Josh Webster and Nick Yelloly for the day.

As well as learning various technical and tactical football skills, they experienced how science and technology is key to both developing fitness and performance analysis. They were all were fitted with GPS transponders before training, which measured distance travelled, acceleration, bursts of energy and a host of other personal data, which was then evaluated and compared during a post-session debrief.

The young footballers experienced a Batak reaction challenge at Let’s Race, before being put into a qualifying and race scenario. They were overseen by MSA Performance Director Robert Reid and MSA coaches David Brabham and Tom Onslow-Cole.

“The thinking was to have a joint-learning day where we could experience another sport and see how they develop their athletes,” explained Reid. “It was an opportunity for our drivers to understand just how hard athletes work in other sports; the level of detail they go into, the briefings and debriefings; the analysis as well as their attitudes and dedication… and for them to take some of that back to use in their own motor sport environment.”

“Without a shadow of doubt it’s been a great exercise on lots of different fronts,” added Gerry Harvey, Director of Education at the Chelsea FC Academy. “We always look at all disciplines with an open mind thinking we can benefit others but, vice versa, thinking we can learn from them, too. We’ve found that over the years there are always crossovers in every single field and that’s why we are keen to share with other sports or other industries. Whether from the MSA or Chelsea Football Club, everyone will have taken something from this experience.”

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Simon provides coverage of the support championships for the BTCC, having been a fixture in the TOCA paddock for over six years.
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