Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Understanding African youth players development

Playing heavy and aerodynamically poor footballs in bumpy and hard surfaces and inclined sloppy fields as well confined spaces that restrict far and wide vision, enables South African players to manipulate the ball the way they do. This is good but it is bad. It requires deliberate promotion of better playing surfaces and equipment to reduce the worry of the behaviour of the ball under such conditions.

Some issues that concern young players when playing football, is that in trying to complete a pass, they find that their target has shifted. Logic would have it then that the ball is played into space, but it is incomprehensible to the youngster that he/she should play into nothingness. Reason must be given why that is a good idea, but the player still has to decipher the best ‘nothingness’ to play the ball into.
This brings in the tactical understanding of football, the decision-making. Of all the spaces available, which one is the most productive and why. Often, the other players must tune to the same frequency in understanding that they have a role to play upon the departure of the ball from the feet of the teammate in possession; that they must provide options that may or may not be used.

To incorporate further complication to the complex picture, consideration of possible outcomes if the ball is suddenly lost eludes even the respected professionals. For young players, it is enough to pass anyhow and then chase the ball after it has been lost. They have the energy and they care less about structures and responsibilities. They just run and have fun.

With the issue of balls and surfaces, the situation shifts slowly to where more youth players have a proper ball and improved playing surfaces. The hard bouncy ground is still challenge to many children. There is very little one can do with that, however upgrading one's skills and seeking knowledge should be non-negotiable. Investing in oneself should be the pride of coaches, but how many bother.