THE PLAYER DEVELOPMENT MODEL
Alliance FC was founded on the principles of building a positive Club culture (for both parents and players) with a focus on player development. Last season was really about getting ourselves established as a Club and forming teams. This season, because our numbers have grown, we have the opportunity to focus more on our mission: player development.
What is Player Development? Simply put, Player Development is about creating the right playing environment for each individual player. This playing environment must allow the player to have equal amounts of success, while being equally challenged. If the environment is too easy, the player runs the risk of losing motivation to improve his/her skill set. If the environment is too challenging, the player will not experience any success, which can cause a lack of confidence in the player, possibly leading to the player quitting the game. Player Development is about taking each player from his/her Point A (where he/she starts) to his/her Point B (maximum potential), with the understanding that Point A and Point B is different for each individual player.
What will Player Development look like at Alliance FC this season? It will mean lots of different playing opportunities with lots of different players, much like we have been doing already. If you were on the team last season or trained with the Academy over the last 3 years, you have already experienced some of this – coed pick-up and Academy sessions, older kids training with younger kids, etc. All of this is GREAT for player development. Where you may notice the biggest change this season is with the “middle” age groups (the 2009 girls and the 2007 boys). Some of the players in these age groups will be asked at certain times throughout the season to train/play with the older teams (to be challenged), and other times they will be asked to train/play on their age-appropriate team (to experience success).
The Four of the Biggest Obstacles to the Player Development Model are:
1.) It’s long-term…and nobody likes long-term. In today’s world, we want instant results that don’t take too long.
2.) Being developmental, it’s much more difficult to measure success than in a results-oriented culture where we can supposedly judge “success” by tallying wins and losses.
3.) It’s change. And let’s face it, none of us like change. Although, being an Alliance FC parent, it tells me that you’re open to it.
4.) It begins to break down when parents start comparing players. These aren’t professional athletes or players on your fantasy team; they’re kids. While our Club IS based on teamwork and togetherness, player development is strictly about focusing on what’s best for each individual. Just like learning in school, players are going to each develop at their own rate on the soccer field. What’s important is that they are continually supported through this process by their parents, and more importantly, by their teammates’ parents. Just remember, at Alliance FC - It’s not about MY kid, it’s about OUR kids.