Do not pigeonhole your players, urges O’Donell

Nilanjan Datta

The future we know is all about the Youth Development Programme (YDP). The history of football suggests the stronger the YDP, the stronger the pipeline for the National Team. The delicate issue that Coaching at the YDP is, the AIFF Coaching Seminar on Thursday (July 19) highlighted the manner in which young players should to be coached.

Scott O’Donell, Technical Director, Regional and Elite Academies urged the coaches to understand the psyche of the young kids to make the YDP an overwhelming success. “When you coach kids, you need to be a part of them. You need to reduce the anxiety and stress and make your sessions fun filled ones so that the kids long to come back to your sessions,” he said.

AIFF Regional Academy boys enjoy a fun-based session as Scott O’Donell (in the background) looks on
“It’s imperative to give chance to every player to play in every position till the age of 10. You need to be flexible,” O’Donell added. “You should never pigeonhole your players.”

The theoretical session was substantiated by two practical sessions at the Father Agnel Ground – ‘Skill Testing’ conducted by Technical Director Rob Baan in the morning and ‘Implementing Match Related Coaching into AFC Coaching Courses,’ conducted both by Baan and O’Donell.

“When you Coach Young players, you need to focus on the technical side rather than the tactical strategies. The boys need to enjoy and start loving the sport. Only then can you develop them into good players,” O’Donell added. “The players need to be involved all the time. Give them the licence to be creative so that technically, they are able to make the right choice.”

The five-day Seminar concludes on Friday when a Grassroots Festival will be organised in the morning followed by a guest lecture from Raymond Farrelly, Coach FX and a Group Discussion in the afternoon.