Does the level that we train or play at impact on player development?
For me the answer to this is simple...100% yes.
I'm sure our academy players are sick of me going on about this subject but I believe that one of the biggest challenges of a coach, in particular at grassroots level, is to change the mindset of the player. Once that changes everything that follows becomes much easier.
I have coached hundreds, if not thousands, of youth players and the main thing that sticks out between the top level players and the rest is the intensity that they train and play. They do not need that motivation and reminder to work hard, it is there. If you have a few players like this it becomes infectious and spreads to others within the group. The negative is that this can work both ways if you have a group of players not working hard.
Do you need to be talented to work hard?
I don't think you do. We have a lot of development level players that work hard and we have examples of players that through their hard work have progressed more than more naturally gifted players. As a coach it is great to see a player that listens and works had develop.
Do you need a love for the game?
For me this is a big one, does the child love the game enough to want to make the effort and sacrifices to improve? 99% of our players will say they want to be a professional footballer but in reality less than 1% will be successful.
As a coaching organisation does what we do impact on player development?
Most definitely. It is difficult but we try as best as possible to have like for like players training against each other. We want our players to be training in the stretch zone and occasionally in the panic zone to experience a higher level. If a player continuously trains or plays in their comfort zone they are not reaching their full potential. It is ok for recovery sessions but not every session. I see some players that are doing loads of sessions a week but not giving 100%. If they are like that at every session they will not develop as much as a player that does less sessions and pushes themselves every session. Check out our intensity over volume and playing philosophy at the bottom of the blog.
I am obviously biased but I believe that there's no better way to develop your child than futsal. It is smaller sided, it is a different ball, it is on a smaller pitch and it is on a different surface but for all of the aforementioned reasons it takes your child outside their comfort zone and challenges them completely differently to how football will.
There's a reason why players such as Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar, Kevin De Bruyne, Mo Salah, Ederson and the likes of Roaldinho, Iniesta, Maradona and Pele before them went on to become world class players. Futsal and training/playing outside their comfort zone whilst loving the game will have had a massive impact.