All our teams follow a professional soccer development model
Early Touches (Ages 7-10)
"Just as a piano player must master the scales before playing and composing their own tunes, so it is the same with soccer."
At an early age, we understand player and ball are the most important relationship in soccer, therefore all our training sessions try and give the players hundreds of touches on the ball, improving balance, co-ordination, touch, confidence and we introduce them to attacking and defending concepts, initially through 1 vs 1's. . As the players become more comfortable with the ball, we increase the intensity and speed of the exercises to develop skill/decision making.
The players are exposed to professional training programs, BOX soccer and cogitraining where players work with senseballs to improve ball mastery, cognitive readiness, improving attention, timing and concentration,
Both programs incorporate sychronization which enhance team learning. The coaches focus on learning topics during games rather than the outcome of the game so good habits are encouraged and learned in every area of soccer so all players have a solid foundation.
Developing the Player (Ages 11-14)
"The coaches objective should be to make the players think instead of thinking for them." Horst Wein
Evolving technique into skill/decision making
Our coaching philosophy understands the difference between technique and skill and the important relationship and progression between both. Technique is how a player executes a certain aspect of the game, such as passing where skill is the decision to apply the correct technique at a given time, e.g a swerved or lofted pass when faced by a defender.
During this phase we further build on early touches by developing game themed awareness in small sided games and by focusing on key age appropriate development topics in our training sessions :
The areas we emphasise focus on are : 1 vs 1's, 2 vs 2's, 3 vs 3's (knowledge of triangles), high tempo 1/2 touch games to improve movement off the ball and speed of thought, communication verbal and non verbal, patterns of play, range of passing, positional sense and endurance/recovery training. We expand on our box soccer training and cogitraining programs, the players moving onto more challenging and age appropriate technical and tactical areas.
The coaches use a variety of techniques to provide players information-visually demonstrating techniques, clearing communicating our learning topics, using guided discovery and also allowing self discovery.
"Instead of focusing mainly on how to execute a closed skill, the soccer development model should coach the players on how the skill should best be applied-when, where and why " Horst Wein
As the golden age of learning passes for most players around the age of 11, co-ordination becomes more important, therefore all training sessions incorporates speed, agility and quickness, based on the principles of Coerver Coaching and SPARQ training, which becomes a priority from the ages of 11-14. Core conditioning, speed endurance and recovery training are also introduced, with our specialized fitness coach.
Developing the competitor/prepare to win (Ages 14-18)
'Your physiology determines your physchology " Dan Abrahams
At this age, players are asked to take more responsibility on their own and constantly encouraged on and off the field to develop as players, athletes and people. They are educated re collegiate and professional fitness standards, diet and hydration plans and also guided re which techniques to focus on, areas to study when watching games, introduced to flexibilty and strength training to reinforce what we work on in practice as the players are encouraged and educated to treat their body the same way professional athletes do. We also incorporate sports psychology referring to experts such as Dan Abrahams to help with pre-game preparation and match day to cope with pressure and to persevere when times are hard, which happens in every journey.
Once the players reach high school age, mental characterstics such as self discipline become more important and we constantly develop and evaluate each player in the six areas of professional development, each of equal importance.
- Technique and natural ability
- Knowledge of the game
- Mental Toughness and Character
- Courage and Bravery
- Speed and Mobility
Small Sided Games
All our training sessions have learning objectives which are constantly under review and reinforced in the format of small sided games each session. We follow the principles of Horst Wein making them age appropriate 4 vs 4 or 7 vs 7 for olders. Players are introduced to funino once they graduate from the skills academy whch encourages more touches and improves perception, peripheral vision and spatial awareness. Players then evolve to playing one or two touch to improve speed of thought, movement off the ball and we incorporate certain conditions to keep the ball on the ground and encourage possession with purpose. This approach ensures players are always highly motivated, because they see training practice always in relation to the game, not isolated from the competition.
"Interaction between the left side of the brain and right side (creativity) should be stimulated through training " Michel Bruyninckx
Above are articles and interviews with top professional players and coaches who help build and mould our professional development model.