A simple truth
Most top professional football clubs in Europe (including England) have a multinational playing staff. In other words the first team in most professional football clubs have players that have different abilities and styles of play that in effect are a reflection of each of the individual player’s background. The professional clubs maybe situated in a particular country but in reality they are independent professional football clubs, playing football in a particular league, independent of any government or country as such.
With the above truth in place now in every country in Europe there was an effect on the home grown player that no one really saw coming just some fifteen or so years ago. The game in Britain since the nineteen seventies embraced a playing style that has become known as the second ball game. What the latter in effect had meant to the home grown player is that he was in effect being asked to play football like a pianist who was told you can only use the white keys but not the black keys on the piano. In layman’s terms, therefore, they had fostered the belief in the home grown player that the game is forward moving and therefore imposed on the young players a reality in terms of their development that catered to the second ball game.
The lack of skills
I do believe that all professional football clubs should not in fact be in a position to impose practices on the coaching side of the young player that cater only to the second ball game mentality. Since the first team in the professional football clubs are now multinational the latter will not change because of business based and political realities. It is a fact of life that the coaching of young players should change and along with it the selection of young players based on strength rather than talent. It is unfair to coach the young players in a forward moving environment if that environment takes them into a dead end road that consigns them to play football at the lower levels of the game.
A pianist plays the piano using all the keys to create harmony. In football terms therefore the forward moving game is just one side of the playing equation. There is another side to it. The black key side if you wish. The balanced reality in terms of playing football has an additional working dimension to it based on adding the skills of soccer to the players playing repertoire. The development of the skilful player though is not what you think - it’s not about fancy footwork - it’s about developing the player’s physical ability to play the more skilful game of football.
Unlike the forward moving training environment which is just one part of the training equation the development of the skills side of the player is actually dependent on yet another level of training based on the lateral working dimensions which are opposite to that of the forward moving mentality. The forward moving training environment on its own in effect develops a limited ability to play football and that ability makes for the creation of the second ball game that has in effect created a player that cant in fact compete with players that have come from the different training environments that have given them a more skilful playing ability.
The playing harmony
I do believe that the game of football should have listened to people like Brian Clough. It was he that said if God wanted the game of football to be played in the air God would have made it possible for humans to play football in the clouds. The latter interpretation of what a really great man in the English game of football had once said should have been implemented into the coaching of young players years ago.
In other words what followed Mr Clough was totally different to what his take on the game was and what happened here followed a different type of mentality, namely the forward moving mentality. The forward moving mentality is a different playing mentality to that of a skilful player that is in fact capable of playing football to a much higher standard of play than any forward moving player who has in effect a way of playing that caters to the second ball game.
It is simply true to say that the long ball game is not as skilful as a game of football played with the ball on the ground, so to speak. These points of reference should not to be discarded on the back of support and mentality for the second ball game. The development of a young player has to embrace a development of a football playing mentality and this does mean implementing a training environment that employs a 360 degree training environment into the workings of player development programs.
The most crucial way forward in terms of young player development is to create a playing mentality that is based on a football brain that is in fact capable of playing football in all its implications and not in fact restricted to a forward moving playing mentality that’s forward moving but in effect creative of a playing environment that gives the ball away. Giving the ball away to a team that is full of football players is a recipe for a losing mentality. I believe that the support for the losing mentality which is the support for the second ball game is not the way forward in terms of young player development programs. A losing mentality is not the British way. The way forward for any young player has to embrace a training environment that enables the young player to develop a football brain and therefore a physical and mental ability to play football in a way that embraces all its possibilities.
The solution to the development of a young football player requires additional training dimensions which are presented for your consideration in book form such as 'Smart First Touches & The 360 degree player. The work on young player development is also backed by a visual interpretation of the additional training dimension with DVD's - See Martin Bidzinski’s work at Reedswain.com.
Martin Bidzinski has over 30 years experience as a coach both in England and Poland working in both the professional and amateur game as well as penning numerous books on his coaching methods.