Appropriate Developmental Soccer Programs (DSPs): A focus on CAF

Soccer instructors should be interested in improving upon their technical knowledge to enhance youth soccer teaching and learning. Developmental soccer programs (DSPs) must enhance the technique, intelligence, motor functions, psychosocial aspects of young soccer players and improve on coaching education to produce better quality soccer players (Cooper, Par 13). 

However, many DSPs offered in African countries are misdirected and involve over-coaching. To re- direct such phenomena, The Confederation of African Football (CAF) seeks to improve the state of developmental soccer programs (DSPs) in Africa concerning what entails an appropriate youth soccer coaching philosophy, the challenges faced by youth soccer instructors in addition to some recommendations to that end.    

CAF seeks to address the dire situation of over-coaching and inadequate instructional expertise possessed by youth soccer coaches. The authority highlights the significance of good quality training systems that can possibly influence the development of both young soccer players and coaching staff (Cooper, par 13). Through availing youth specific educational opportunities and increased rates of participation for soccer instructors, CAF has been improving the state of youth soccer on the continent. Consequently, young players are becoming more skillful since instruction has become very player centered though coach and position driven.

Holistic approach

Although some of these changes are welcome, others should not be encouraged in the development of high quality soccer players. For example, winning at all costs and coach-centered instruction inhibit learning and holistic development (Sports Path, np). On the contrary, DSPs should aim at enhancing the core assets that each individual young player possesses. For instance, a continuous improvement instructional program should target the development of technique, soccer intelligence, psychosocial, motor skills and personality aspects of these youngsters through guided discovery and differentiated teaching. Consequently, CAF acknowledges that training players and coaches in the fundamentals of grass root soccer will positively affect the state of youth soccer in Africa.

In Africa, many DSPs manifest rigid learning and less player development. In fact, youths with more qualified anthropometric attributes stand better chances of making first teams as compared to the technically proficient but lacking in good anthropometrics. Therefore, the confederation recommends coaching philosophies that prioritize the continuous development of the core assets (technical and tactical game intelligence, motor functions, psychosocial and psychological aspects) possessed by young soccer players.  In light of this sense, CAF advocates for the adoption and implementation of player centered coaching approaches at all centers of soccer development on the continent (Sport Path, n.p).

Deliberate efforts

Consequently, the holistic development into not only elite players but also responsible and accountable citizens does not happen mistakably.  The confederation recommends coaching philosophies that use soccer to instill many of life’s positive lessons in the youngsters.  Additionally, CAF acknowledges that the enhancement of lessons like teamwork, consideration, working hard to realize full potential, active lifestyles and developing athletes with multiple skills is very critical. Moreover, this depends on the quality of education received at respective developmental centers (Sports path, n.p).

CAF highlights poor playing conditions and the movement of young African players to European leagues as major challenges in the development of youth soccer in Africa. Besides, the compensation schemes to cater for the period young soccer players spend receiving an education or training at respective developmental centers is inappropriate. (Cooper, Par 14). According to the confederation, strong consideration and improvement on the highlighted aspects is crucial for DSPs to turn out high caliber soccer players in addition to responsible and accountable citizens. Conclusively, enhanced training and coaching education for both young soccer players and coaching staff in addition to well-implemented coaching philosophies are vital in overcoming the challenges stifling youth soccer development in Africa.

A Research Article submitted by The Scea Development on 30th August 2017

Works Cited

Cooper, Augustus Eugene. “The African Football Development Model.” The Interdisciplinary Electronics Journal of African Sport, Vol 7, 2011

Sports Path. “Quick Self Evaluation: Which Sort of Soccer Program do you run?” Sportspath.org, Sports Path E- Blog, N.P. Feb.21.2014. Web. 30th August 2017

Article by The Scea Development