Nurturing the Talent of Tomorrow: A Preliminary Conclusion
Global Football Training examines the pros and cons of modern approaches to player development in Africa, South America and Europe.
A footballing world tour is reaching its final stages as Global Football Training is on its way to Asia and Australasia, leaving behind the traditional powerhouses of world football. Therefore, it is time to recap some of the lessons learned by taking a closer look at modern approaches to player development.
Three years on from setting out on a trip to map and analyse coaching techniques and player development schemes, Kenn Schmidt, CEO of Global Football Training, points out that coaching methods are dominated by similar trends:
“New methods and ground-breaking philosophies are few and far between. From Europe to South America, academies tend to employ similar coaching techniques. However, a few clubs and academies stand out and try to do things differently – as a change in structure might improve the end product.”
Global Football Training launched its world tour with high hopes of experiencing different coaching structures and approaches to player development.
“This part of the trip has been a let-down. The game is constantly changing and coaches need to evolve at the same pace. They need to learn new skills every day, shift focus from results to development, and focus on players as individuals with an individual skill set.”
“During the trip, I have seen clubs and academies incorporate such an approach, but, in too many cases, coaching is done in the same way as it was 15 years ago,” says Kenn Schmidt.
Sevilla FC – employing new tactics
Coaches and fans around the world are well acquainted with the capabilities of FC Barcelona in terms of developing world class footballers – no need to look further than the current squad. Further south, the pride of Andalusia, Sevilla FC, is trying to get ahead of the herd by incorporating new methods.
“Coaching is still based on technical drills, but focus is on producing complete footballers with the ability to make the right decision. Decision making is an essential attribute in the modern game, and players with a high degree of footballing intelligence have proved to be a valuable asset to leading clubs in Europe,” explains Kenn Schmidt and continues:
“Players should be able to react naturally to any given situation, and a way to instil this in players is to introduce youth players to drills that improve their footballing intelligence.”
Sevilla FC has opened the door on a new approach to player development; however, Global Football Training has also been impressed with the coaching set-up in Denmark. Global Football Training met with Morten Olsen, coach of the Danish national team, in Arizona and he was proud of the talent base and coaching set-up in Denmark.
Morten Olsen also pointed out that Denmark could get even better and needs to develop at a constant rate to be able to produce the players of tomorrow.
Uruguay and Mexico on a path to glory
To devoted readers, it comes as no surprise that Global Football Training admires the view on coaching and player development in Uruguay. But clubs and academies in Mexico are not far behind as Kenn Schmidt points out:
“Developing new talent is at an all-time high in Mexico as the country has transformed its coaching structure; focus is now on producing gifted footballers with unique technical abilities. The gold medal at the Olympics in London is a testament to the success of the Mexican approach to coaching.”
The final at the London Games may also be a taste of what is to come for Brazil. Losing the final is not a massive disaster for most teams, but the Brazilians were touted by many as being the best team in the world. Is the world of football heading for a power shift?
“Brazilian players are always in high demand as they possess a unique skill set, and the country seems to have an endless talent pool. But the governing body does not give any importance to educating coaches and it might come back to haunt them in the future. The coaching structure in Brazil has been one of the negative features on this trip,” adds Kenn Schmidt.
Failure to grasp the vast possibilities
A footballing world tour is bound to showcase special features and a need for improvements – as well as bring on new ideas. And academies and clubs do implement new techniques from time to time, but Global Football Training saw limited examples of incorporating methods from other sports.
“Clubs pass up a vital chance to improve player development and coaching by not looking to other sports for inspiration. Player intelligence, running lines, movement, physical and technical capabilities can be improved by broadening horizons. Why not try it out,” says Kenn Schmidt.
Small margins separate success from failure, and, in a multi-billion industry, even the smallest breakthrough may lead to an increase in the output of talented footballers.
Combining player development with social responsibilities
Throughout the world, football is an inherent part of society and culture. And Ghana is no different. Thus, Right to Dream, a non-profit organisation in Akosombo, uses its academy to produce talented footballers as well as educated individuals.
Right to Dream has created a professional environment, and several rising stars have come through the academy, including Mohammed Abu of Manchester City. “It was a pleasure to experience life and coaching at Right to Dream as the academy has much to offer in terms of nurturing talent and preparing young people on life to come,” adds Kenn Schmidt.
A similar approach to nurturing talent can be seen at Academia Deportiva Cantolao in Peru. The academy provides talented youngsters with an opportunity to make it to the big leagues – an opportunity Claudio Pizarro has embraced with open arms.
That was all for now
Global Football Training is on the road again and hitting Asia and Australasia soon – and will be back with more news on coaching and player development around the globe.