Young Norfolk Sports Academy (YNSA)

The Young Norfolk Sports Academy (YNSA) is an initiative led by Norwich School which nurtures and develops Norfolk’s future sporting stars into elite athletes by providing expert support, education and coaching.

The YNSA aims to:

  • Help their athletes reach their potential as outstanding sportsmen and sportswomen.
  • Provide individualised support no matter what the sport.
  • Allow pupils to work alongside others from different schools with similar aspirations.

What it involves

YNSA4The YNSA is a sporting academy for 15-18 year olds who are either in the top 10 ranking in their home country (England, Wales) of their respective sport in their age group or who represent their home country in a team sport.

This gives them the opportunity not only to individually develop skills as part of a physical tracking programme but to receive seminars and practical sessions delivered by international athletes and coaching experts. These sessions discuss topics crucial to the student’s future careers such as nutrition, sports psychology, injury rehabilitation and handling the media. The students also receive functional movement screening by a physiotherapist to help improve their performance. There are approximately two of these workshops a month, often more.

Norwich School’s Involvement

The YNSA was established after Steffan Griffiths, Headmaster of Norwich School and now Chairman of the YNSA, recognised that the school had the sporting facilities and expertise to act as a hub for the wider community. Mr Griffiths stated: “I am proud that Norwich School is leading this initiative”.

YNSA1First piloted by the school with their own athletes, its success meant that it was opened up to pupils throughout Norfolk with Richard Sims, Head of Cricket at Norwich School and former professional cricketer for Zimbabwe, as its Head.

The programme started with 15 pupils and now boasts 21 top young athletes, nine from Norwich School, two from two other independent schools and eight from eight different maintained schools. Norwich School continues to significantly support the Young Norfolk Sports Academy, running it in conjunction with Active Norfolk. The school provides facilities for workshops and functions while the Academy is funded by sponsorship from businesses across the county.


Dan Brainbridge (Javelin Thrower) was selected to represent his country as part of the GB athletics team in the European Youth Championships 2016.

“I have the drive and passion to push myself in throwing. However, it is the support and guidance from the YNSA that is helping me become a more rounded athlete. I have learnt so much from the weekly meetings.” [1]

Cerys Maryan (Rower) won four national medals 2014-15, including gold at Hampton Head in the Women’s Junior 15 single sculls and became the fastest J16 female under 15 in the east in 2015.

“[The YNSA] have supported me every step of the way…whether it has been giving me information obtained from the fantastic lectures or having the opportunity to discuss and share experience with other athletes who have similar aspirations to myself.” [2]

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