Soccer Academy Alliance Canada

Long Term Player Development

CSA "Wellness to World Cup"
Canada's Long Term Player Development Plan

The CSA has recently published it's Long-Term Player Development Program - Wellness to World Cup. This Long-Term Player Development (LTPD) is a CSA soccer-specific adaptation of the Long-Term Athlete Development model (LTAD) developed by Canadian Sport Centres. LTAD is a scientific model for periodized athlete training and development that respects and utilizes the natural stages of physical, mental, and emotional growth in athletes, and it has already been adopted by major sports organizations in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Canada. Like the LTAD program, LTPD is designed to:
1. Promote lifelong enjoyment of physical activity.
2. Provide a structured player development pathway.
3. Describe best practices for elite player development.
4. Create long-term excellence.

LTDP is based on general findings that the greater the quality of player preparation, the greater the likelihood that players of all abilities will remain active throughout their lifetimes, and the greater the likelihood that the performance peaks of those who pursue excellence will be higher and maintained over a longer period.

Development Matrix

OPDL Matrix

 


Stages of Development


STAGE 1: Active Start (U4 to U6 females and males)   “FIRST KICKS”

At this introductory level, the objective is to get children moving and to keep them active. At daycares, schools, clubs, recreation centres and home, small children can be provided with early opportunities to learn basic soccer elements. No competitive games should be played – the objective is for adults and children to play together informally.

STAGE 2: FUNdamentals (U6 to U8 females / U6 to U9 males)   “FUN WITH THE BALL”

At this stage, coaches and teachers should create a stimulating learning environment where the atmosphere is “Freedom and Fun.

Game formats can range from 3v3 to 5v5 as the children grow through this stage, and the season should range from 12 to 20 weeks. In order to help de-emphasize competitiveness between coaches and parents, no league standings should be kept. A basic league fixture schedule can be created, but it is basically an extended jamboree format, and the emphasis is clearly on FUN.

SAAC Program Highlights:
- Small-sided (4v4 with no goal keepers) games to maximize time with the ball
- 2:1 Training-to-game ratios
- Professional coaching (B license minimum)
- Competition results are NOT maintained (to encourage development and reduce competitive anxiety)

STAGE 3: Learning to Train (U8 to U11 females / U9 to U12 males)   “THE GOLDEN AGE OF LEARNING”

The effect of the role-model is very important at this stage. Children begin to identify with famous players and successful teams, and they want to learn imaginative skills. Game formats can range from 6v6 to 8v8 as children grow through this stage, and the season should last 16 to 20 weeks.

League standings are still not necessary. A simple league fixture schedule can be created, but it is basically an extended jamboree format, as the emphasis is still clearly on FUN.

SAAC Program Highlights:
- Small-sided (7v7 for U9-U10, 9v9 for U11-U12) games to maximize time with the ball
- 3:1 Training-to-game ratios
- Professional coaching (B license minimum)
- Competition results are NOT maintained (to encourage development and reduce competitive anxiety)

STAGE 4: Training to Train (U11 to U15 females / U12 to U16 males)   “IDENTIFYING THE ELITE PLAYER”

At this stage, elite soccer groups may express interest in recruiting talented youth players. Care must be taken to recognize and protect the long-term interests of each player. Risks and issues can be avoided by ensuring that the development model remains “player-centred.”

Mental training introduces a pre-competition routine, mental preparation, goal setting, and coping withwinning and losing.

Game formats can ranges from 8v8 to 11v11 as players grow through this stage (game transitions to 11v11 at U13 age), and the season moves toward year-round play that includes appropriate rest and recovery periods.

SAAC Program Highlights:
- Full 11-a-side games (beginning at U13) to create real game situations
- 3/4:1 Training-to-game ratios
- Professional coaching (B license minimum)
- Competition results are NOT maintained (to encourage development and reduce competitive anxiety)

STAGE 5: Training to Compete (U15 to U19 females / U16 to U20 males)   “DEVELOPING THE INTERNATIONAL PLAYER”

Athletes who are now proficient at performing basic and soccer specific skills are working to gain more game maturity as they learn to perform these skills under a variety of competitive conditions.

Mental training works to increase player concentration, responsibility, discipline, accountability, goal setting, self-confidence, self-motivation, will to win, mental toughness, and a competitive mentality in practice and games. Players are taught the importance of being educated in the game, and they are encouraged to watch games on TV and National team games.

The game format is according to strict FIFA rules for 11-aside soccer, and the season is built on year-round play that includes appropriate rest and recovery periods.

SAAC Program Highlights:
- Full 11-a-side games in a competitive league format
- 3/4:1 Training-to-game ratios
- Professional coaching (B license minimum)
- Competition results start becoming part of the program objectives

SAAC is committed to incorporating the CSA "Wellness to World Cup" guidelines into its team programs. Below is a chart showing how our standards line up with those recommended the Canadian Soccer Association:

 

 

Soccer Academy Alliance Canada, 2017

www.saac.ca

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