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AIFF: "It is essential that young players and coaches get plenty of experience"

Former AIFF Technical Director Scott O'Donell shared his views at the AIFF International Virtual Coaching Conference

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The Bridge Desk

Updated: 5 Dec 2021 1:32 AM GMT

The second day of the AIFF International Virtual Coaching Conference commenced with the former AIFF technical director Scott O'Donell on Saturday, December 4, 2021. The FIFA Coach Educator expressed about the progression of players and coaches from youth to professional football.

While introducing O'Donell, AIFF Head of Coach Education Savio Medeira addressed the Aussie as one of the pioneers of football coach education in India.

"He (O'Donell), along with Dutchman Rob Baan, empowered us to develop local coaches, be confident, and showed us the way," said Medeira.

On grassroots football development

O'Donell commenced the morning session by highlighting a worldwide grassroots football problem about player dropouts." The transition phase from junior to senior (age 18-23) is the toughest as most players tend to stop playing or drop out," he said. "To rectify this, it is important to pay attention to their off the field life and know them as human beings before football players."

On being realistic

Showing the statistical example of European football where less than 1 per cent of youth players make it professionally, O'Donell explained the importance to be realistic with targets." All countries have the challenge of development pathways from youth to senior," he said. He went on saying "We must be wary of people making false promises to young players."

On the importance of competitive game time

O'Donell listed out the factors that determine for a player and coach to progress successfully from youth to professional level, O'Donell stressed the need for competitive game time." It is essential that young players and coaches get plenty of experience in competitive games to make better real-time decisions," he said.

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