Fortunately in the Netherlands, players up till 12 years old can fully train again under supervision. Most clubs are now focussing on their team rosters for next season. But are the best young players, who end up in select teams, also the best in the long term? This is applicable on both amateur and professional level.
The “high performers”, in other words the players who are good now are usually picked-out, and that is not that difficult. Identifying the “high potentials” is much more difficult, if not almost impossible”. Out of fear of missing the next Memphis Depay, or using the argument that young players will get more quality trainings, children still switch to professional academies at a very young age. They are taken out of their social environment and at what chance of success?
The question we should be asking ourselfs is “are we picking the right players at a young age?”. Like seeds if you nurture them, seeds will grow. But did we pick the best seeds? Aloys Wijnker, at this moment Academy Director at Vitesse Arnhem did some research on how may players in the U15, U16 and U17 joined the club at U8 or U9. The conclusion was almost none. This of course is a conclusion at a professional level, but how do you deal with this at amateur level? For example a player with potential is part of the third U9 team and a player who is good now is part of the best U9 team. How does their development look in general?
In this case the player with potential is part of a “lower” team and very likely has a volunteer coach. Over the years he has fewer and less quality training sessions resulting in a mediocre individual development. The player who is good now has a licensed coach, gets more quality training sessions, resulting in a good individual development. The player with potential has no chance to catch up with the good player. What would happen if the player with potential was given an equal chance? The same licensed coach and the same number of quality training sessions?
What is who is needed to properly organize talent development across the whole club? Instead of thinking in problems, what solutions are there?
More to follow…