QP Head of Youth David McCallum explains more about the Vinci Initiative in this Q+A session

What exactly does the Da Vinci Initiative offer?

In short, it's an opportunity for players and coaches to train in a climate conducive to tactical training, for a two-week period. Staff will supervise daily assessments/debriefings, optimising players' skill progression. They will also scrutinise skills and performance of players who may be recommended for promotion to the 1st XI, and, on their return, share the benefits with coaches not attending. 


What are the objectives of the Da Vinci Initiative?

It's a cultural exchange and educational experience. It's aimed at helping to identify top performing players in the Under-17s and ease their smoother integration into U19's squad. It's also a unique opportunity to accelerate development with intensive training. It lets coaches observe players' maturity and ability to adjust to changing situations. In addition, the trip will aid development of coaches with strategic planning and implementation of a full-time programme. Players and coaches will be exposed to a different environment - playing styles, tactical situations and concentrated workloads.

Another vital part of the Da Vinci Initiative is about giving youngsters the chance to learn more about other cultures. Queen's Park take this side of things very seriously, and participants were briefed briefed well in advance about what to expect in Portugal and Turkey.


What criteria were used to select those heading from Hampden for the camps? 

As far as players were concerned, squad coaches had to identify those in the 19s who could give the time commitment, while also considering their discipline record, performance to date and commitment to the club.

With regard to the 17s, the coaches had to consider the same factors, along with the player's potential to progress in the game. As far as the selection of coaches was concerned, key factors included their association with the 19s or 17s squads, their ability to make recommendation on potential 1st XI players for season, their ability to deliver a full-time programme and ensure discipline of the players as ambassadors of QPFC. It was also a reward for their commitment to the club and recognition of their years of service. 


In the long term, how will the success of the latest trip be measured? 

The club will be looking to see an improvement in tactical knowledge from all those going to Spain, with enhanced skills and a transfer of knowledge to players/coaches not attending. This will be achieved through in-service days and presentations when the group returns.

The Da Vinci Initiative is a superb opportunity for the club; it's a wonderful experience for all who participate ... but it's no holiday.

It fits in perfectly with the desire that has been a guiding principle at Queen's Park throughout our 146-year history. We don't just want to develop young players, we also want to help those youngsters develop into good ambassadors for Queen's Park, the Scottish Football Association - and football in general.