Monday, December 27, 2010

When Does The Developement of Futbol Skills Start?

One of the subjects I have gotten into more arguments about is the development of young players and what is more important, the support they receive at home, or the training they receive from their coaches. It has always been my heartfelt opinion that it is at home that the greatest players of all time started their training. Here today, thanks to Sergio Aguero and a very young Lionel Messi, I bring you some proof of this.

Here, then, is Sergio Aguero playing at home with his young son Benjamin:

And here is Lionel Messi at age 3:

It is this sort of early, at home training that instills a love of the game, and knowledge of the basic skills that can be the difference between a good and truly great player. That's not saying that I recommend kicking a ball about inside the house at any age, unless, of course, one has a home large enough to put a room aside for such play.

What I do encourage for anyone who has a child who shows any kind of interest or talent in the game at an early age is to take the some time out of every day to play with them. The earlier you start, the better. It will not guarantee they will become as great as Lionel, or even Sergio. Not even young Benjamin can be given that, despite being Sergio's son, and the grandson of Diego Maradona.

Now, this is not to say that coaches do not have their place in youth development, they most certainly do. I have, however, never heard nor experienced a coach who could instill the love of the game. Nor has any coach ever been given any credit for the skills of players such as Maradona or Messi. What youth coaches do teach is tactics and discipline, and they can help a young player in harnessing their skills to be applied to working on a team. By that time, however, it is no longer fun and games.

And, to finish things off, here is Messi on one of his visits to Rosario training two defenders in the making:

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