You don’t send a player to the a professional academy to finish of their development. Going their they should already have Professional Habits. All the best players in the world, have these habits. They have a level of hard-work and commitment that is required to get to the elite level (paid to play). I listen to parents and players all the time saying they want to go to a pro academy to be a professional footballer but they aren’t even close to the commitment and lifestyle change required to even get noticed.
They say, “My kid is talented”.
I ask them,
ok, so he’s talented….. “what is he doing to try and achieve this the level required to play in a pro academy?”
If they don’t already have self managing skills and professional habits, then the professional club will probably be too much for them. We see this all the time, young players going over to the UK and coming back because they can’t handle what it takes to be stay in with the very best or to even perform at the Elite level (Paid to play I’m talking about).
Along with having the talent to play….the player must also have responsibility, accountability, self management, drive, commitment, attitude and belief.
Questions to can ask any teenage player looking to have a career in the game:
- Did you get enough sleep or are you getting enough sleep before and after games or practice.
- Did you have a nutritious breakfast and did you prepare it yourself?
- Did you pack you’re own bag or did you mum do it?
- Are you drinking enough water and eating the right foods every day?
- Do you get to training early to start you’re warm up, dynamic stretching etc etc?
- Do you ask the coach to show up early to help you practice on some specific areas of the game to help you be fully prepared for the game or practice?
- Do you ever run home from practice to get an extra bit of fitness training in?
- Do you pack any half-time snacks, to help you recover?
- Do you pack any after game/practice snacks to help you recover.
- Do you ever stay back and do some extra technique training or do you ask the coach to help out after training?
- Do you ask the coach what you need to do to get better and are you using this advice?
- Do you ever ask other teams at the club if they are stuck for a player and if so to call you? (Messi played for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd teams at Barca).
All of above are some of the behaviours you will find in players who have made it to professional academies. If a player is not showing any of the above then they do not have the passion, drive or commitment to be outstanding. So moving your kid to the best team or travelling half the country to get them playing at the best level, will not make them better. The player must decide that this is what they want to do. They must have the commitment, desire to be the best in everything they do and it starts with answering YES to most of the above.
Facilities, money and equipment won’t make you successful. The commitment, being 100% committed and being obsessive about what you do and how you train, what you eat and how prepared you are, might..
They need to be obsessive about getting better, 1% every time they play and train. Getting the most of there talent in every part of their preparation, to be the best they can be. That is what is required and more and then you need a lot of luck, the correct amount of nurture and nature will also have a say.
So much of the success you want as a coach and your players want, is down to your coaching and guidance. This all happens with change and connections. Coaching is the art of emotional connection. We are in the business of making dreams but we need to be realistic with our players. Unless they are stepping outside of the norm they are unlikely to see that dream come through.
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