Another great article and podcast by Nearpost Local as they chat with the Capital Football Technical Director
In this program we speak once again to the Technical Director of Capital Football, Royston Thomas. In the previous interview, we had some discussion on the structure of the Capital Football high performance regime, the program designed to develop our players.
But we are not finished with this subject. We get a bit more detail on the structure of the program, but importantly, expectations and priorities! And that magic phrase – “Skill Acquisition Program”.
The Capital Football high performance regime (I call it that because that is still its title on the CF website) is now in two parts:
The CF Centre of Excellence (for the elite player stream)
The CF Centre of Development (for all other young players who are not part of the COE)
Both development programs, but in particular, the COE age groups U13,12,11,10 are now referred to as the Skills Acquisition Program (SAP) and the Under 13 age group is referred to specifically as the “Skillaroos”. The boys Skillaroos are in place, but the girls (at this time anyway). The boys Skillaroos pay no fees. All other age groups, boys and girls pay fees.
Things are changing under the TD Royston Thomas and we need to understand precisely what he intends and wants of our players, particularly in the COE programs.
In recent months the changes in expectations have caught a few parents and players on the hop. The commencement of the Futsal season and preparations / selection of players for the ACT Futsal age rep teams for the Nationals in early January 2012, has brought some parents and players into conflict with the underpinning philosophy for the Football COE. For some, it will be Futsal or Football but not both. This is very new to many and does not settle easily for some. In the past, there has been accommodation made between the Football HPP / Academy systems and ACT Futsal National Representative age group selection and training, as both programs claimed the core of our talented players.
Things have changed and now the focus is clearly on Football elite pathway. Futsal is not something that seems to be able to be absorbed where it crosses the Football elite pathway. Many will be disappointed, but take the time to listen to the Technical Director’s position.
You may disagree, but in the context of elite sports performance management it is almost unarguable. I very much doubt if an elite swimming coach would countenance one of his/her swimmers (say in an NSWIS or AIS program) undertaking a program in another sport that saw the swimmer miss mandatory training sessions or took the focus off swimming. Our biggest sports now claim our best young athletes for as good as the whole of the year, usually to the exclusion of most other co-curricular activity. So in that sense the Capital Football Technical Director’s underpinning philosophy for the COE should not come as a surprise. And its back to playing squads for the Skillaroos at least.
But is it the best solution for our young players, particularly the best of our young players? Its the question that quite a few having been asking in recent weeks, provoked I suspect by the arrival of trials and selection for the ACT Futsal teams. Something to consider – the ACT is small place in the scheme of both Football or Futsal and the pool of talented players often as not crosses over between both games in the younger age groups. Football has the muscle at the FFA but Futsal does not. Football coaching and club infrastructure are substantial, while Futsal has little to compare, including a serious deficiency in futsal coaching education. Which explains why the run up to the Nationals is so concentrated and intense. The exception to this is the Boomerangs FS who compete in the Football NSW Futsal Premier League. They too compete for the availability of the best of our best players at age and as they compete at the top level int he Australian domestic Futsal competition, you can understand why many young players value this experience.
But before taking a position, listen to what Royston Thomas has to say. He does make sense. But clearly more detailed coordination at Capital Football is now necessary to ensure we preserve as much of our competitiveness and opportunities in both for all our talented players. The CEO Capital Football hinted at this in our last interview. Good co-ordination and good policy are the key and we seem to be short on both. Its not as though we haven’t done this before!
The Capital Football Technical Director has taken a very clear position in relation to the priority he expects parents to acknowledge and players to comply with, if they are selected for and agree to be part of the Capital Football “Skills Acquisition Program squads” which form the Centre for Excellence. The Technical Director’s position is clear – its either all in or not in at all. You give the program your full commitment and make whatever sacrifices, in respect of other sports or recreational activities, in order to meet all Skills Acquisition Squad program activities.
The requirement for a high performance regime is a FFA mandated requirement, put upon each member federation. It is underwritten by the FFA National Curriculum and in particular, the National Football Development Plan. Each member federation is expected to do its job in respect of the identification and development of young players to the age of 14 years for boys and 15 years for girls.
In the ACT, Capital Football has explored several solutions for the development of players over time. Some more successful than others. The current Technical Director has drawn a clear distinction between “community” and “elite” player development. That is the way the FFA wants it to be.
Hope you enjoy this interview, its an important one for parents and players and Football Clubs in the ACT.