Long-Term Player Development Model
Coaches at all levels recognize that training and competition are essential to player success. Young players are not miniature adults; the emphasis and content of training differs according to the developmental age and readiness of the player. Consequently, it is a long-term process for young players to develop into elite athletes.
With very young players, the emphasis of training should be on basic coordination and movement acquisition in a fun environment. While challenges and competition are an essential part of training, they should not be the focus of it.
As young players move through to each new phase of their development, the process and the program should be clear. It must also be linear and methodical to allow easy transition to the next phase. Consideration of what should be coached, when, for how long and how often, must be related to critical periods in human development: the “windows of trainability.” Again these must be linked if players are to reach their potential and fully develop as a person. Thus, it is essential for soccer clubs to develop and use a cohesive, coherent long-term plan for player development.
A specific and well-planned practice, training, competition and recovery program will ensure optimum development throughout a player/athlete’s career. Ultimately, sustained success comes from training and performing well over time rather than winning in the short term. There is no shortcut to success in athletic preparation. Rushing competition will always result in challenges to physical, technical, tactical, mental, personal and lifestyle capacities.
In Red Star’s framework, fun, fundamental motor skills and soccer specific skill development are strongly emphasized at an early age. Competition for younger children needs to be balanced with a focus on skill development. Presently, in the U.S. there is an overemphasis on competition to the detriment of opportunities to practice and improve. If younger players are to develop their skills and decision making, they need to be exposed to enjoyable practices to develop their capacities on a regular basis.
The Red Star Long-Term Player Development (LTPD) Model, as part of the academy’s master plan and guiding principles, will contribute to skills, fitness and knowledge among players in the years to come.
The Red Start LTPD will:
- provide clear pathways for progression.
- help athletes attain higher and more sustained levels of success.
- provide athlete-centered planning and decision making.
- provide a basis on which to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of programs.
At Red Star, we believe our entire organization is charged with the responsibility to ensure that players are provided with the best opportunities to achieve their goals and fulfill their dreams.