Dons youth coach Derek Young reckons the enforced break from football due to coronavirus may benefit the next generation of Pittodrie stars.
With the country in lockdown Aberdeen’s youth players – like footballers at all levels – are stuck home unable to train together.
However, they have been given some homework on social media in the form of skill challenges set by the Reds youth academy.
Former Aberdeen midfielder Young, who coaches the Under-16s, is keen to be able to work with his players again as soon as possible.
But in the long run he thinks this enforced absence – and the break from being under pressure to perform every week – may benefit some youngsters.
Young, 39, said: “The good thing about social media is that it has allowed the club to set up homework challenges.
“That has allowed them to keep their eye in with things like their touch and their skills.
“They keep bringing out more things so it keeps giving the boys stuff to do,
“We’ve got them analysing themselves now so for my under-16s team there are maybe a few clips from a game that they’re shown.
“Then five questions about the game asking them what they thought and what they could have done better.
“So it gives them more understanding of that side of things.
“But when it comes to playing football and getting the hours in, it’s tough.
“My team want to be playing as much as possible and trying to impress and trying to get full-time contracts in the next year.
“Hopefully before too long we can get back.
“It’s the same for us coaches as the kids – we just want to be on a training pitch putting on sessions and trying to help them improve.
“It’s probably the biggest rest everybody in football has had for years and years.
“The first-team players, when they’ve been playing in Europe, haven’t had much of a break so this will be a change for them.
“They’ve got their training schedules to keep themselves ticking over.
“For the youngsters mentally it might be a good thing because they won’t be under pressure for the next couple of months.
“The kids in the academy are the same as any elite kids in sport, they are under pressure every week to perform in training and in games.
“That can be a burden on them so maybe it’s taken a bit of pressure off them for a while and maybe their mind is getting a wee rest.
“It might be good as well because everyone might realise how much they’ve missed it and come back with more motivation and enthusiasm and a realisation that if they don’t stick at it there maybe won’t be football for them.”
Since the end of October, Dons teams at all levels had been training at Cormack Park.
Young says this has been a boost for the youth academy as well – both in terms of facilities they have access to and the inspirational effect for his young players of seeing first-team players or coaches at close quarters.
Young, who also coaches at the SFA’s Performance School at Hazlehead Academy, added: “Since we’ve been at Kingsford it’s been great for the academy and the first-team boys have been great with us.
“Depending on their schedules sometimes they are in later when we are coming in to do our training.
“So all the different age groups get to see the first-team boys and I’ve managed to drag a couple of coaches in for question and answers in the changing rooms.
“Even with just on the spot things like that every one of them that’s been asked has been incredible and come in and spoken to the boys.
“When you’re going to the training pitch it’s great to hear the boys saying ‘oh that was so and so and I can’t believe he came in and spoke to us’.”