Often we are amazed at how easy it looks,the fluidity and grace a top player shows when confronted with a difficult situation.How did he/she see that pass? How did he/she know where the space was? How did he /she score that goal,intercept that pass …
The answer is very ofen in what has gone before.It is important to remember that this player was once a child and much has happened along the way.They invested many hours of dedication ,a lot of energy and effort with the aim of becoming the best player that they can be.
One very important component that is rarely mentioned is….. chance.Here I am referring to the identification of a talent that has the potential to become a top footballer.When looking at youth players especially those in their early teens it is almost impossible to predict any sort of long term success stories ie those who possess the potential to become professional footballers when they are older.More than often the successful footballers are not necessarily the ones who performed best in their early years in youth competitions.There are a multitude of reasons for this.
RATE OF LEARNING- Different learning curves.Different responces to different type of training.
ENVIROMENT-Type of training,Coaches,Parents,School,Competition structures.
In Youth football very often it is the more mature players that perform better or are seen to perform better.This is what I call a TEMPORARY ADVANTAGE because as each player nears the end of adolescence many of the factors stated above are negligible but very often much of the damage is done as Talent identification in football more than often takes place way to early.The young footballer is being judged on his current performance rather than his/her future level of performance leading to a short sighted selection process for those elite /talent development programmes that are started way to early.This is a major fault modern talent identification systems,we fail to notice the real talent who may at present not be the best performers but have the potential to be so in the future.The knock on effect for this “potential” group is that they become neglected and they dont get the standard of coaching and encouragement they deserve.
It should be understood that individual development curves differ from each other and that the coach should acknowledge and support the individual nature of the pathway that each player takes.