Roadmap plots Socceroos path to top


Summary

By the e-book: FFA released its online curriculum designed to reshape Australian football. Photo: Justin McManusIf a Socceroos team ever wins the World Cup, historians will pinpoint the day back in 2013 when an online e-book was launched, aimed at reshaping the style and culture of football in Australia.
Nanjing Night Net

Around midday on Friday, Football Federation Australia released The National Football Curriculum – The Roadmap To International Success, which national technical director Han Berger described as his legacy, a comprehensive blueprint the Dutchman is confident will transform the way the game is played and coached from grassroots upwards, hopefully eventually placing Australia among the world’s football powers.

Based on years of research and analysis, the free resource – which Berger believes may be unique in the world – is aimed at players, coaches and parents and provides detailed practical lessons on training, coaching and football philosophies.

It offers age-appropriate drills and model sessions directed towards building a style of possession-based, pro-active football, rather than relying on physicality and mental strength.

”At this moment [the patient possession-style game] is not really in the Australian psyche,” Berger said. ”The simple fact of the matter is that, at the top level, it’s impossible to think you can ever be successful consistently with a physical direct playing style. In a one-off, everything is still fortunately possible in football. But on a consistent basis, the direct physical playing style is not the way to go. Modern top level football has moved away from that.”

Berger revealed that Guus Hiddink’s former assistant, A-League-winning coach Graham Arnold, warned shortly after the 2006 World Cup there was not a sufficient succession plan. Pim Verbeek repeated the warning when he left in 2010.

Berger, who joined FFA in 2009, said when things were going well, it was sometimes hard to look to the future. ”People and organisations tend to take things for granted,” he said. ”Then suddenly the coin starts dropping when things go less well.”

In recent years, despite qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, the Socceroos’ rank has fallen from the 20s to the 50s. The so-called ”Golden Generation” of players who carried the team to relative success throughout the mid and late 2000s is breaking up and cracks are appearing. No longer can Australia simply hope that another good group of players comes together.

The building blocks have to be laid. In 2009, the first edition of the curriculum was released but it dealt mainly with the over-riding philosophies required to implement a new way of playing football.

It was focused on the top down and some of the results have filtered through to A-League and national junior sides. Berger highlighted the under-20 team as having shown encouraging signs at the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey in June.

This edition is a practical resource, which will be implemented at future A-League club elite academies and national premier league clubs. It is especially aimed at the foundation level.

”When it starts there, I’m convinced we’ll see the results of that,” Berger said.

The main culture change will centre around changing the win-at-all-costs mentality in junior football, which Berger explained led to booting the ball upfield and scrapping for possession. That approach emphasised physicality, not technicality.

It also had the effect of alienating smaller children. He said he wanted young players to be encouraged to be creative and clever with the ball, rather than just trying to get the ball to the goal as quickly as possible.

”At grassroots level it’s still very much a winning at all costs mentality, a direct physical type of game,” he said. ”That’s the big challenge now, to convince the coaches, the players and the parents that that’s not the right way to go.”

Implementing such a change will take much more than publishing a book, apps and videos. It will take time and patience. In Japan, a 50-year plan was launched in the 1980s. In Germany, it took a decade.

”That is the minimum,” Berger said. ”So, you have to think in decades. That’s a difficult selling point because people tend to look at results next year, or changes next year, they want it to be tangible and visible. But those processes do not happen overnight.

”To really make it happen … there needs to be a shift and change in culture and mentality. The success [of the curriculum] stands or falls with how much, how deeply, it will be embraced.”

If it is embraced properly, Berger is convinced the long-term approach will develop generations of players to take Australia to the top levels of the game.

”We’re three or four years into it. We’ve only touched the surface. We’ve only worked top down. Now we have to start putting our energy in working bottom up. Only if you have a broad and strong foundation, your summit will be of top quality as well.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


By the e-book: FFA released its online curriculum designed to reshape Australian football. Photo: Justin McManusIf a Socceroos team ever wins the World Cup, historians will pinpoint the day back in 2013 when an online e-book was launched, aimed at reshaping the style and culture of football in Australia.
Nanjing Night Net

Around midday on Friday, Football Federation Australia released The National Football Curriculum – The Roadmap To International Success, which national technical director Han Berger described as his legacy, a comprehensive blueprint the Dutchman is confident will transform the way the game is played and coached from grassroots upwards, hopefully eventually placing Australia among the world’s football powers.

Based on years of research and analysis, the free resource – which Berger believes may be unique in the world – is aimed at players, coaches and parents and provides detailed practical lessons on training, coaching and football philosophies.

It offers age-appropriate drills and model sessions directed towards building a style of possession-based, pro-active football, rather than relying on physicality and mental strength.

”At this moment [the patient possession-style game] is not really in the Australian psyche,” Berger said. ”The simple fact of the matter is that, at the top level, it’s impossible to think you can ever be successful consistently with a physical direct playing style. In a one-off, everything is still fortunately possible in football. But on a consistent basis, the direct physical playing style is not the way to go. Modern top level football has moved away from that.”

Berger revealed that Guus Hiddink’s former assistant, A-League-winning coach Graham Arnold, warned shortly after the 2006 World Cup there was not a sufficient succession plan. Pim Verbeek repeated the warning when he left in 2010.

Berger, who joined FFA in 2009, said when things were going well, it was sometimes hard to look to the future. ”People and organisations tend to take things for granted,” he said. ”Then suddenly the coin starts dropping when things go less well.”

In recent years, despite qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, the Socceroos’ rank has fallen from the 20s to the 50s. The so-called ”Golden Generation” of players who carried the team to relative success throughout the mid and late 2000s is breaking up and cracks are appearing. No longer can Australia simply hope that another good group of players comes together.

The building blocks have to be laid. In 2009, the first edition of the curriculum was released but it dealt mainly with the over-riding philosophies required to implement a new way of playing football.

It was focused on the top down and some of the results have filtered through to A-League and national junior sides. Berger highlighted the under-20 team as having shown encouraging signs at the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey in June.

This edition is a practical resource, which will be implemented at future A-League club elite academies and national premier league clubs. It is especially aimed at the foundation level.

”When it starts there, I’m convinced we’ll see the results of that,” Berger said.

The main culture change will centre around changing the win-at-all-costs mentality in junior football, which Berger explained led to booting the ball upfield and scrapping for possession. That approach emphasised physicality, not technicality.

It also had the effect of alienating smaller children. He said he wanted young players to be encouraged to be creative and clever with the ball, rather than just trying to get the ball to the goal as quickly as possible.

”At grassroots level it’s still very much a winning at all costs mentality, a direct physical type of game,” he said. ”That’s the big challenge now, to convince the coaches, the players and the parents that that’s not the right way to go.”

Implementing such a change will take much more than publishing a book, apps and videos. It will take time and patience. In Japan, a 50-year plan was launched in the 1980s. In Germany, it took a decade.

”That is the minimum,” Berger said. ”So, you have to think in decades. That’s a difficult selling point because people tend to look at results next year, or changes next year, they want it to be tangible and visible. But those processes do not happen overnight.

”To really make it happen … there needs to be a shift and change in culture and mentality. The success [of the curriculum] stands or falls with how much, how deeply, it will be embraced.”

If it is embraced properly, Berger is convinced the long-term approach will develop generations of players to take Australia to the top levels of the game.

”We’re three or four years into it. We’ve only touched the surface. We’ve only worked top down. Now we have to start putting our energy in working bottom up. Only if you have a broad and strong foundation, your summit will be of top quality as well.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.