During this period, players enter puberty and associated growth spurts (i.e. peak height velocity). Growth and maturation, as well as interest in the sport, does not develop at the same rate for all individuals and most of the players will orientate themselves toward community football (recreational and participation).
As the talented players move into the specialisation years, they are involved in football to a far greater extent. Technical/Physical abilities are no longer solely sufficient for success, and a high level of dedication, self-determination, hard work and discipline play an important role in the progression through football. Identification and selection is used as a tool to ensure the best players are able to train and play with and against the best. Since talent development is non-linear and dynamic, opportunities are available for players to move back and forth across the different pathways.
- Differentiate between early, normal and late maturers and adapt training to meet the players needs
- Provide ‘Football Based’ Physical training opportunities to develop strength, aerobic and anaerobic power as athleticism becomes an increasing part of the game
- Regulate a balanced training to game ratio to avoid overload
- Training must not be focused on preparing a team to win but on developing the individual players, their positional understanding and how they interact with their team
- Introduce simple playing models and develop player understanding of their roles across the 4 moments of the game
- Ensure the door remains open between the different pathways so players are able to move across throughout adolescence
- In the talented pathways, develop psycho-behavioural skills such as self-determination, winning mentality, and goal setting to help players cope with the increased demands of the sport