The Stockholm Football association have now made public the results of the first part of their research into the problem with player development within the Stockholm region . Stockholm has only had 6 players selected for the National senior team in the last 12 years ( 2 goalkeepers and 4 defenders ) and all this despite Stockholm showing a national dominance in the 13 , 14 , 15 year age goups.
Here are the main points from this preliminary research
1. Compared to many football clubs in the countryside many Stockholm clubs are missing a red thread that runs through their club . Many clubs do not have a child and youth policy and many of those that have do not communicate it very well. There is a problem with the standard of leadership at grassroots level.
2.There is a big problem that success is measured in results instead of development and that many clubs are not interested in setting and reaching longterm goals. A defined football culture is missing in many clubs where someone with little understanding of football both practical and theoretical is often working in a leader role ie Committee
3. Parents have been known to put too much negative pressure on children . Players need to find and develop their own motivation.
4. Time should be allowed for players to develop and spontaneous football should be encouraged.
5. There is a real lack of football pitches in Stockholm when you compare it to other parts of Sweden , so the amount of time allotted to each club is very restricted. Also there is a large need for more proper indoor facilities when you consider that in Stockholm there is 177,644 people per hall !!!!
6. A positive trend today is that with the many new astro – pitches being built , the technique amoungst young players has improved but players rarely get to train on a full pitch which means that players dont get a chance to develop their game intelligence and basic understanding of the game in match realistic format . (More on this below )
7. There is a need for more qualified coaches at the 8-14 year old age group where each club has a concrete long term plan for player and club development
8. There is a belief that those who are best at 13 / 14 are the only players with the ability to succeed and become elite footballers. 25 % of players that are chosen for the elite Stockholm team at 14 quit football within 3 years.
In refernce to point no. 6
What is actually meant by better technique ? I too have noticed that many players in Stockholm possess fantastic technique , this is no suprise due to the amount of isolated technique training that takes places. But how functional is this technique ? Is it the right technique at the right moment in the right situation , at the right time ?
4 phases that need to be trained from an early age
1. Perception (Visual)
2. Understanding (Visual to brain)
3. Decisions (brain to body)
4. Execution (Perform an action)
In the traditional coaching model much emphasis is placed on 4 .. “execution” of say the technique . But in a game situation the top players are using the physical in tandem with the tactical and cognitive.Modern football owes much to a better understanding of the game. ability to read the game. ability to quickly solve problems and be a better decision-making.
In Stockholm as is the case with many other cities around the world . we need fewer instructors and more teachers so that we can go from a talent identification model (short-term, best player right now) to a more talent observational model (long-term , best potential for the future)