Friday, 19 August 2011

Dutch Curriculum giving Aussie kids a gift for life.

Jan Versleijan and Han Berger have been slated by many over the last few weeks for their team performances at the various World Cups.

Versleijan as manager of the teams, and Berger for laying down the 1-4-3-3 revolution, with a little help from Rob Baan the former Dutch Technical Director.

But by god we needed them in Australia.

Have a look Australia.

I've been here 20 years and only now do you start to see football been played, prepared at the grassroots level in significant numbers. It's slow, real slow, but it's spreading.

Though compared to 20 years ago we're coming like a speed train.

In U7 Boys and Girls, Div 4 in Masters or wherever you watch or play, slowly but surely as you cast your eye across grassroots lands more and more players are given a ball each - the games at the junior ends are increasingly starting with a roll to feet.

To feet!

To feet!

In Australia who would have thought we'd all start playing with our feet?

This simple change is bringing a cultural change in Australia. And it came from the Technical Revolution, or the Dutch revolution.

We have a long long way to go - but until we change the mindset of football players parents and coaches, in Futsal and outdoor from the young age, we really ain't ever going to produce enough skilful players to push some real world stars out the other end.

This might be a concern for those that want to see a great national side.

Me? I'd like to see that, but I'd like to see more and more 7 year olds boys and girls starting to learn to play with both feet, taking players on, control and confidence to die for.

This doesn't come from the big boot at outdoor or keeper chuck at Futsal.

And it's still taking time to change the attitudes of parents, players and of course Coaches.

We've needed a system, a curriculum, to hang our hat on and now the only guys looking like numpties are the guys who haven't taken the time to learn the style of play, how it shapes the play of our players, and indeed assists the teaching of the game to our kids and parents.

After all few players play with one coach their whole life, and this alone is reason enough that we need to be singing from the same songsheet.

In Australian football, on the sidelines in clubland, we've lacked any mass development or understanding of football for so long.

So thank God for the Dutch Revolution and the 1-4-3-3. We may need to change an individual coach occasionally, but Han Berger is not the problem.

And those who don't like the 1-4-3-3 model simply don't understand game development for all our players and coaches, beyond their own little group of players - without a model, or curriculum how can players transfer to other teams and broadly play the same system - or indeed how do players learn roles and bring their own initiative or learning to their new team?

If Coaches are doing their own thing in U12 their players are disadvantaged. Players simply cannot enter Rep teams or U17s advanced enough to allow Coaches to build on this knowledge if they are coming from teams coached by people who simply think they know better!

But of course most such Coaches are concentrating on their own performance, their team results rather than individual player development.

Our players have the technical skills, the recent World Cup showed that, particularly at U20 level - so is it the Coach or individual player knowledge that is holding us back?

We need to keep the Dutch curriculum - the education of the masses has begun. It won't stop now.

And the more players that reach the age of 12 able to play football, the better the top top players will be.

For most of us at grassroots we'll never produce a Socceroo, but giving Aussie kids the gift of simply being able to take a ball, left and right, control and beat a player. That's a gift.

The national curriculum can take us to that goal and give every Aussie a gift for a life.