DEVELOPING YOUTH FOOTBALL PLAYERS
Coaching philosophy for development of young football players
Young players are the cornerstone of football. They are, and always will be, the future of the sport. Much more important than winning games is the acquisition of those values inherent in football: fair play, the urge to do better and the sportive spirit. Education, therefore, runs parallel to the technical instruction.
Whether young players choose football as a lifelong sport is determined to a high degree by the content of the training programme, the expertise and experience of the coaches, the social life in the club or school and the structure of the formative competitions.The art of developing effective training and competitive programmes for children lies in knowing which kind of practice and competition the player is ready for at any given stage of his or her physical and mental development. Children will learn quickly, effectively and thoroughly only when the demands of the training sessions or competitions they participate in match their intellectual, psychological and motor skills.
The concept of readiness (the disposition of a certain degree of maturity) is a prerequisite for any activity and one that should be applied in all aspects of teaching and learning. It must also be applied to children's sports activities. Coaches should ask, 'At what age is a child ready to successfully face the demands of an adult competition?' If officials were aware of the concept of readiness, children under 14 would never have been subjected to testing themselves in competitions for which they were not yet prepared. Children must be exposed to a gradual stimulation in training and to a series of progressive competitions that, over the years, allow them to advance step by step into the adult game.The art of coaching lies largely in knowing for what activity ( a technical move, a tactical behaviour or a complex competition) the player is prepared for at a particular stage of physical and mental development.
All to often, children are introduced to complex sport activities for which they are not yet physically and mentally ready. Expecting a child to comprehend and respond to the complex situations in the full 11v11 football game format will only beget frustration and feelings of failure.Therefore, in order to develop efficient training programme for young players, the coaches should take into account each young player's current physical and mental development. The programme should promote gradual development of correct technical, tactical, cognitive and physical capacities of the players.
'' TRAINING DEALS WITH THE ERADICATION OF BAD HABITS AND THE CREATION OF GOOD HABITS.''
The acquired bad habits from the early ages are the reason number one for a lack of progress in youth football.The perfect solution would be that the complicated adult game, that the children are exposed to, has to be simplified; a logical progression of competitions must be created, designed with increasing demands that adapt perfectly to the mental and physical abilities of individual children.Youngsters should be presented with only those exercises, games and challenges that suit their current capacities, interests and expectations.Training models and competitions for children should be like their shoes: They should fit perfectly and feel comfortable. Instead of obliging the children to adapt to the game of football, we as coaches have to adapt the game to the children, thus resulting in better and more enjoyable learning of the complicated game.
'' BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT TODAY WE ARE ALL USED TO INSTANT FOOD, INSTANT PHOTOS, INSTANT COFFEE, INSTANT TRANSMISSION OF INFORMATION, ETC., PEOPLE ALSO EXPECT INSTANT SUCCESS.''
In conclusion, the children should encounter training that is enjoyable, effective and appropriate for their age as soon as they set foot on the pitch.This is the only way to develop healthy, happy, talented football players. Any attempt to rush the natural development of young football players or have them confront the demands of the full game too early has to be considered detrimental to their development and future performance.