The effectiveness of the training process in the academy depends on many factors, such as the coaching staff, teaching methodology, the level of students in the academy (when all the players progress together in daily training), the ability to play friendly matches and official matches with other clubs, the technologies used, etc. Given that we have already mentioned the importance of coaches and methodology, here we will consider other important aspects.
The state of the training facility is, in a sense, an indicator of the development of the academy. At the same time, the place of residence of students can be modest, since this not crucial for training (and in most academies, athletes live in pairs), but the training infrastructure is important. This includes high-quality soccer fields (both natural and artificial turf), a gym, swimming pool, recovery and rehabilitation, etc.
Use of technology New technologies are pushing sports training forward. Technology is used both for training, recovery after matches or injuries, and during games. If the soccer academy uses them in the preparation of athletes, this is a good sign. The most popular in soccer are:
- Portable GPS-sensors to measure the individual physical indicators of the player during training or games — are used, as a rule, in the form of special wearable vests. The obtained information helps to determine the physical condition of the athlete, prevent injuries, and determine strengths and weaknesses
- Special simulators and equipment for training and recovery. These are also isokinetic simulators that allow you to measure the strength of individual muscles of the body, predict injuries or muscle wasting. This is also a spirometric equipment for assessing the condition of the lungs and endurance of the players
- These are various computer programs used to analyze games and training sessions, to teach soccer tactics to athletes
Official matches and professional soccer screenings
Leading soccer academies give players a variety of opportunities to practice what they’ve learned in practice in the real game. As a rule, these are friendly matches, official matches (for example, the academy team participates in competitions or a local championship), games between different teams within the academy, as well as formal viewings in front of scouts, coaches of other academies and clubs.
Each type of match has its advantages. For example, during friendly matches or domestic competitions, coaches can make more substitutions and give instructions to players (analyze their performance) during the match. Good academies have a wide range of sparring partners of equal level or higher so that players know where to aim.
And many international academies organize independent tournaments or official matches with other academies, clubs — to give players the right amount of playing time.
Therefore, when choosing academies, pay attention to their capabilities. Unfortunately, not all academies have well-established partnerships with other clubs, which means they can’t organize quality friendly or official games, where, among other things, you could show yourself in front of professional club coaches, scouts or agents.
In general, in terms of the daily routine and intensity of training, all programs are approximately equal. In some academies there may be more training and official matches and competitive games, in others less, depending on the “package” of the program which the athlete has registered for. For example, the WOSPAC soccer academy in Barcelona has different packages and prices. But this is not a common practice, and only a few academies take this approach.
A complex approach
Playing at a professional level is not only physical or tactical preparation in training. It is also the study of sports diets, psychological preparation. The latter is especially important when an athlete leaves the academy and, let’s say, starts his career at a club. You need to be ready for this. As well as injuries. Quite a few athletes “broke down” psychologically and ended their careers or simply failed to reach their potential. Good soccer academies understand this — and the coaches and specialists of the academy pay attention to these issues.