A Focus on Individual Player Development over Team Success
The development of a soccer player is a long process in which players progress gradually from a simple to a more complex involvement in the game. This process cannot be rushed, but players should always compete at a level that is both challenging and demanding. Below is a list of elements essential for proper player development:
- Competitive training environment that is demanding, challenging, varies, motivating, enjoyable, encouraging, stimulating, and realistic to the game on a consistent basis.
- Quality coaching to help guide, direct, and assist the players through their youth careers from coaches who are pursuing a greater understanding of the game and how to teach.
- An ideal game environment that is age/ability appropriate against teams that will push the players to their maximum capabilities, where players receive “fear-free” continuous playing time and are encouraged to keep possession goal to goal.
- A competitive environment where the development of individual players is emphasized over team results and where players are placed on teams and put in leagues that will enhance that development.
- Proper equipment – proper boots, shin guards, properly inflated soccer balls, proper dress, goals, and fields.
- Political pipeline of administrators, coaches, and referees that place great importance on individual player development when making decisions and policies.
There is no guarantee that a player will reach his or her potential, but at the very least we must give them the opportunity to become “the best that they can be”. There is no magical formula or short cut to successful development. Coaching at youth levels is all about working with players to improve performance. Soccer is a player’s game and the development of those players should be considered first when political, administrative, and coaching decisions are made.
Director of Coaching,
Cape Express Soccer Club