ACADEMIES ARE TOO ONE-DIMENSIONAL
I CHATTED to one of my lads this week about his ongoing development needs.We discussed his background, in which he benefitted from an excellent football schooling.
And we broke down his assets and deficits into three core categories: with the ball, without the ball, game play.
The conclusion we reached was that the academy schooling that lads receive nowadays tends to major on ‘with the ball’. So when you talk to a young centre back today, he doesn’t talk about winning tackles, winning headers, organising around him.
No, he discusses his ability to play from the back and receive the ball under pressure.
I look at the pressure Barcelona put teams under when they don’t have the ball. They organise effectively and cleverly, they set traps, they pressure with intensity, unity and structure. Their skills are not limited to what they do with the ball.
And then there are key game skills like how to behave to close a game out. How to build momentum. Or how to break flow. These skills seem to be lacking in younger players.
In my opinion, we need to develop the academy syllabus so that we aren’t producing players who believe that football is just about what you can do with the ball.
The best teams in the world are great with the ball, without the ball and in their game play.
Our future requires that we give our kids a full appreciation of all aspects.
The evidence I see is that, whatever we want to say or think, too much youth development is one dimensional.