If Belgium can have such dramatic player development results by simply administering ‘7 Common Sense Principles’ – Why Can’t We?
I passionately believe that if properly applied, Kris Van Der Haegen’s ‘7 Principles’ can dramatically improve the playing environment and player development in District-7. That is why I encourage every coach to read the ‘Principles’ and urge Directors of Coaching to implement them –Immediately!
1. PLAYER-CENTERED APPROACH
One of the main principles is that the leading actor is the player, not the coach, not the team. It’s elementary to understand that in children’s football [soccer], we have to do what they like. We call it the tailor-made approach. Who is in front of me? Look at the characteristics of the player and then adapt the environment to fit them.
2. SMALL-SIDED GAME
Kids want to play football [soccer] in their way, not how adults want to play. We created a format that is tailor-made for this. At five and six years old, they play 1 vs. 1 with a goalkeeper.
We play two halves of three minutes, and then they go to the next pitch. The winner goes to the left and the loser to the right. After one or two games, they will be playing against a similar-level opponent, and everyone scores goals, everyone wins games, lots of ball-touch, which makes it fun. Teaching 1+1 and 1vs.1 podcast]
This is an amazing project funded by the Flemish government. It is about basic motor skills – making children active in several sports, and at a later age, they can decide if they prefer basketball or soccer or whatever. That is very important.