Thursday, 14 May 2009

What Han Berger told me

FFA Tech Director Han Berger had a chat with me last night about the new technical development plan put out or about to be by the FFA.

First thing that struck me is that elite sports for kids is so serious these days, and I guess Aussie football juniors are about to get a rude awakening! Maybe it's already happening in other.......

codes though I expect football's standard will be higher and harder because our benchmarks are international.

Han Berger was interesting; this was his fifth talk across the State Feds. He mentioned the research, some of which was shonky in my view..but basically we've copied the Dutch model. And we probably best fit this model given their and our characteristics, football playing population we ain't Brazil or Japanese in population or characteristics...poverty or work ethic.

He "revealed" the two pathways..Community and Talented and the amount of training required and type of training required for 8-19 year olds in the talented pathways.

I would estimate that there isn't one player in Canberra, in any club or academy, who currently meets the time requirements set out in the new plan, at any age group

Han focused, totally, on the Talented Pathway as I guess is his job, although I couldn't help feel that the Community pathway is actually the pathway that 97% of Aussie footballers will come under.

He discussed the 1-4-3-3 system and explained clearly, in my view, why it is the best for it's very flexible and you can change it into what ever you like....players are very adaptable coming from this system.

All info will be available via the web community drills (1500) to everyone; and talented drills etc...will be only available to those who hold the appropriate coaching exclusive club who no doubt will be paying for their badges if not web access.

Han was blissfully unaware of the Canberra situation. ie we can train these players as he wishes but if we don't get our two players into the AIS at 16, the rest are doomed to the football community pathways in the local league.

A lack of an A-League team( yet) a Youth team(yet) and a lack of a state league team; Football Fed NSW won't let any team from Canberra play or win the title (again )in NSW Prem League so the FFA are missing out on developing our 25,000 players from the broader region.

Guess that's a local issue but if you want all the coaches present (there was a strong turnout) to develop technically gifted players why would or should they if we can only get two into the AIS...and the rest just stop!

We'll be running our wee 8 year olds; well the talented ones around to guided curriculum anyday's all good stuff in my view if you want to produce the best.

It's way to obsessive for me...give me a ball, a kid and let's have a game and heaps of skills and fun.

And I guess by 2015 when it should be totally rolled out...most/all of our kids from both the community and talented pathways will have skills to play the game for ability to control a ball and take it in their stride...not many Aussies, although it is increasing, can say that yet can any age.

The paper documentation will be out to all in two weeks for now the rollout continues at Fed level.

Han discussed the changes to SSG's,but as only Canberra and NT are doing them in full, the changes won't impact on anyone!

Basically Under 11 and 12's will play full field. Yuk!

Having played full field as a 12 year old in UK one hundred years was not a lot of fun...... and we won every game. Not sure Aussies are ready for this talent wise, maybe the elite will be in time.

Interesting: Canberra will start with the 9-12 years in Oct-March sessions, (off season) as we aim to improve our skills to the level required by the new models and quick.

I think the new game has passed me by:) Oh well back to my nutmegs and I'll leave the talented pathways to those who know!

And I feel for Capital Football because this another onerous burden on a fairly stretched organisation in my view. That said try rolling it out in Queensland with the same number of Tech Directors:)


Anthony Hatton said...

One positive of this new curriculum is that for the first time there will be a wide dissemination of the philosophy and the pathways for all to see.
Every parent and community coach will be able to pass on knowledge to their kids about what's expected.

The information won't be secret coaches business as it is now. If the FFA are true to their word and kids get credit and recognition for their technical expertise then this will inspire many junior players.

This is where i think this system will succeed or fail. If you recognise skill mastery within the system from any child (not just those selected or in academies) then there is positive incentive for many more kids to practice in their own time.

I don't like the socialistic model of selecting certain 'talented players for special treatment. Rather, I'd give wide reaching incentives to every kids to achieve set goals by themselves.

Incentives such as meeting famous players, VIPS at internationals, prizes for each level etc...
Then just watch the progress. This way better leverages our community coaching assets and gives ownership of the process to the grassroots. It would be spectacular if community coaches shared the credit for the national development progress as they and their kids work toward the stated curriculum goals.

If you want a revolution you need the support of the people not just a handful of specialist coaches.

Wider participation is by far the superior model. Not only do you avoid producing academy clones but you just might find the next Cryuff or George Best next door.

MW said...

Huzzah, I totally agree (with you Anthony :) ). The 11v11 only goes down to U12 not U11.

If it comes off as it seems on paper then it will be great. Who knows, someone may even pull NSW in to line yet.... waits for a knock at the door.

Talking to some people from around the region today reinforced the city v country thing as well. Hopefully the noise they are making about developing talent from the country not just the city will come off as well.