When you're on a football pitch, you aren't just one person - you're part of a team that has to look after each other and work towards the same goal.
On Sunday, members of Reading's U14 squad travelled to Hammersmith Fire Station to learn about the role of a firefighter, and see if there what parallels they could take into their fledgling football careers.
The players quickly realised the physical requirements and psychological demands, imagining how to deal with a 100 degree fire in the dark, whilst wearing heavy kit and tanks.
The players then formed into groups, competing against each other, to roll out the hoses, connect to the engines and put out an imaginary fire.
The teams were shown how to collectively handle the powerful high-pressure hoses, and quickly grasped that if they didn't hold on, the hose would shoot everywhere. Next, they had to rescue a heavy injured casualty, using a ladder to transport them. The importance of communicating and working together was integral to achieving the objectives.
Later, the boys were given a talk on how firemen prepare for the multitude of eventualities they may face. Training must be at a realistic intensity, so when called upon to perform, they can rely on the processes they have learnt.
Practising until you don't get it wrong, helps to reduce the pressure, when the real scenario occurs.
On the day, the players were tasked with finding a solution based on what they've previously learnt, and communicate it to each other in the moment. Finally, firefighter Patrick Murray explained how after each job the team sits down and reviews what went well, and what could be improved on, so that performance will be better next time.
Reading FC and the U14s especially, would like to thank Patrick Murray for giving up his time, and arranging a fantastic insight and experience for the players.