YSE: 14: Content vs Model, Soccer Club and Academy Development Model Analysis with Mark O sullivan

Mark O Sullivan

In YSE 14 we welcome Mark O Sullivan from www.FootBlogBall.wordpress.com.  Mark holds a EUFA A License. Mark recently wrote an article titled “Development Model or The Emperor’s New Clothes. In the article which you can read here, Mark brought great insight and analysis into the difference between Content vs Model in a soccer club model. One model he uses as an example is the LTAD model which is used by different clubs around the world, most notably in the UK and Canada. (Before this podcast episode, I had reached out to Chris Murphy from Coastal FC in Canada to discuss this model. I am currently trying to work out a time to discuss the model further so we can learn more about it and its benefits).

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Some of the other things you’ll learn from this episode:

Mark explained that he grew up playing on the street, nothing organized until 9 or 10 years old. Not sure how it happened, but someone always had a ball, just like in many neighborhoods across Europe. Mark also gave us some insight into his coach, who either “had an amazing knowledge of the game or very little”.

Something very interesting was his take on technique, which he thinks he learned on the streets, he would see it on TV, it helped him and his friends create a great imagination. They commentated on their own games, had a great time with their imagination. They watched what the pros did and imitated them. That’s how he learned to play with both feet. There was so much variability during the games on the streets.

Take Aways:

-structure must be from child’s perspective to maximize learning

-we know what is good for kids, but implement it for adults, this has to change

-Hard skills (easy to measure) vs soft skills and why many kids get overlooked due to size.

-Development model on a home page, don’t let your club do this!

-make it as fun as possible for the kids

Links:

Mark’s Follow up article “Turn the Curriculum on its head: Coaching in Context”.

2 thoughts on “YSE: 14: Content vs Model, Soccer Club and Academy Development Model Analysis with Mark O sullivan

  1. Fun & Player Development do not have to be mutually exclusive. Any good coach can achieve both if they’ve thought through how players can develop through the fun activities that they participate in. When I coached 6 year olds I helped them learn to run with the ball by being a scary monster who chased them around. They loved it AND they learned from it. It’s doesn’t have to be an either or proposition as it comes across in this podcast.

  2. Hi Chris, yes I agree with you, Fun and Player Development should not have to be mutually exclusive. I don’t want to speak for Mark, but I think what he is trying to say is that the majority of kids need to get engaged first by doing something fun, THEN you can start training them. I agree, every child is different. There are practices that are not very fun, but the kids still learn from them. I would recommend that you listen to Episode 1 and 2 with Ted Kroeten, he had some interesting things to say about “free play” and coaching at a young age.
    There are many areas where kids won’t play soccer unless they go to “practice”, so that’s when we want to try to make it fun for them so they want to return the next day. But again, that is not ALL the kids, some kids are just born with a different mentality and love practice, no matter how hard they have to work. Thanks for posting your thoughts. I don’t have all the answers, so I appreciate you questioning things, it helps everyone learn more.

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