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Erling Haaland is a generational talent..

Erling Haaland is a generational talent posted by @JoelCressman

He was the product of an outlier youth program in Norway.

Researchers investigate his team cohort, this is what they found:
Bryne FC 99 (players born in 1999) was unique for several reasons:

• 6 of the 40 players became professionals
• 35 of 40 players kept playing into adulthood
• Grassroots-focus with no cuts or selections

Here’s how they did it:
1) Youth practices were age-appropriate

Players entered the team at 6 years old.

Until the age of 10, there were 1 or 2 training sessions a week.

Training focused on skill development, specifically teaching activities they could do on their own.

2) Tactics and position-specific training were delayed

From ages 11-13, players trained 2-3 times a week.

From ages 13-19, one group practiced twice a week while the other practiced 4-5 times a week (based on choice, not skill)

Tactics were introduced at 11 years old. Position-specific training only started at 15.

3) Fun and learning were the focus

The team didn’t play in their first tournament until age 13.

They played weekly matches from the start, but competition came from in the group:

“We had a lot of competitions during practice. A lot of skill development, and a lot of competition”

4) They put in lots of hours of informal play

Players regular weekend routine was to play a pick-up game they called “World Cup.”

Teams were always made across skill levels and inclusive.

They used small breaks in time to play: “At elementary school, we played soccer each break, even if it was only a 10-min break”
5) The Head Coach put people over results

The Head Coach was a former pro. He had the knowledge to be an authority.

However, his greatest success was how he connected with players.

He talked to every player at each practice. He treated skilled and lower skilled players with the same care and focus.

6) The community supported freedom

Bryne is a small town of 12,000 people. When players were 6 years old, a soccer dome was built in the center of town.

The dome was left unlocked and players could enter at any time.

A parent reflected: “The cohort we talk about here was raised in that dome.”

7) Time in the system was the success marker

The coaching philosophy was: “As many as possible, for as long as possible, and as good as possible.”

Players were given the choice to train more after the age of 13, they were not selected.

Future elite players noted: “they had worked harder and engaged in more hours of practice compared with less skilled players.”

The Bryne FC 99 team produced more professionals then they had dropouts.

Are these lessons universal? No.

Bryne 99 were an outlier in their own program. The groups before and after disbanded in the teen years.

But it shows the power of limiting adult ambition in youth sport.

Article source here: https://journals.humankinetics.com/view/journals/tsp/35/2/article-p131.xml (Thanks @chasmahoney)

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