In the junior level, the ball skills should be redefined; they should begin to develop an insight to the game and an overall passion for the game. Player development should occur through a systematic approach. There is a priority structure in what should be covered in training players of these ages. Team success should be a result of this systematic approach as opposed to building teams to win games.
Training sessions of both levels should include activities that get to the game as opposed to fundamental drills that do not have the pressure of the game. These activities should be appropriate for the age group. A player learns a concept better if they experience it and therefore make the proper decision on their own as opposed to being told when and what to do. The concept of identifying the positive and praising is a much better approach than focusing on the negative and punishing. Each player needs to be challenged by an activity but should not be taken to the point of frustration. An activity that is either too easy or too hard does not benefit the players in their development.
Competition is inherent in the game of soccer. The basic concept of it I have the ball I want to get it past you to score a goal. Player development occurs through playing games. As a coach are we playing for the result or do we play the game for the development of players. The players should be on the field each time playing to their highest ability. It is our job as a coach to develop players. To this end we must put players in different roles, try different systems, and different approaches and be willing to stick to those changes so the player can develop. Playing for a result all of the time can hinder a player’s development. As a player we always play for a result but as a coach we sometimes coach for the better good down the road. In terms for looking for competitions and games we should look for quality of game versus quantity of game. Too often we think we need to play more games to get better. This way of thinking tends to do two things; reduces the amount of training and causes burnout both of which are detrimental to a player’s development.
Every decision make at the administrative, league or club decision should be made in terms of how does it effect the development of the player?