Player Centered * Coach Driven * Administration, Sports Science, Parent Supported*

Coaches at all levels recognize that training and competition is essential to player success. They should also know that young players are not miniature adults and that the emphasis and content of training differs according to the developmental age of the player. Consequently, it is a long term process for young players to develop into elite players.

With very young players, the emphasis of training should be on basic coordination and movement acquisition in a fun environment and while challenges and competition are an essential part of training, they should not be the focus of it.

As young players move through to each new phase of their development, the process and the program should be clear. It must also be methodical to allow easy transition to the next phase. Consideration of what should be coached, when, for how long and how often, must be related to critical periods - the “windows of trainability”. Again these must be linked if players are to reach their potential and fully develop as a person. Thus, it is essential to develop and use a Long Term Plan for player development.

A specific and well-planned practice, training, competition and recovery program will ensure optimum development through out a player/athlete’s career. Ultimately, sustained success comes from training and performing well over the long term rather than winning in the short term. There is no shortcut to success in athletic preparation. Rushing competition will always result in shortcomings in physical, technical, tactical, mental, personal, and lifestyle capacities.

Based on this framework, fun, fundamental motor skills and soccer specific skill development should be strongly emphasized at an early age. Competition for younger children needs to be balanced with the need to develop skills. Presently, in the U.S. there is an over emphasis on competition to the detriment of opportunities to practice. If younger players are to develop their skills and decision making, they need to be exposed to enjoyable practices to develop their capacities on a regular basis.

The RED STAR Long Term Player Development (LTPD) Model as part of the ‘Master Plan’ will contribute to skills, fitness and knowledge among players in the years to come.

LTPD will

• provide clear pathways for progression.
• help athletes attain higher and more sustained levels of success.
• provide athlete-centered planning and decision making.
• provide a basis on which to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of programs.

We are all charged with the responsibility to ensure that players are provided with the best opportunities to fulfill their dreams.

 - Adriano Allain
Red Star Soccer Academy
Technical Director