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The Next Generation Sports Academy: Prioritising soft skills for youth development

The Next Generation Sports (TNGS) are a sports consulting company and international football academy that specialise in developing young talents across the world in a high-performance environment.

Participants who have attended TNGS camps have been selected for clubs such as West Ham United in the Premier League, Villarreal in La Liga and Toronto FC in the MLS. Alongside this, players have also been chosen for the England and United States National Teams.

Based in Valencia, the company has developed athletes and coaches over the last 10 years in territories such as Sweden, USA, South Korea, Japan, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Bermuda Islands and many more using their own methodology.

This methodology includes a strong emphasis on educating young talent on abilities that will make them an important player in a team and also on an individual basis.

Improving the ‘soft skills’ of young players, such as creativity, leadership, adaptability, problem-solving and decision making is prioritised across the board by coaches at the academy.

Using an example according to the TNGS website, the creativity of players is tested through various technical, tactical and psychosocial exercises to challenge and prepare them to resolve situations in-game and improve their overall game intelligence.

Decision making is encouraged through visual coaching strategies which are implemented through the use of modern learning tools, to help youngsters immediately understand and learn how to read and interpret proposals to make appropriate decisions.

Adaptability, which is a key factor between being a successful player or not, is encouraged and drummed into players in a tactical sense, so they are aware of when and how to put a certain tactic into practice.

The Academy was forced to be adaptable itself in the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and change the way in which they connected and worked with players.

Coaches were not only concerned about players’ physical wellbeing but also their mental skills when it came to self-motivation, discipline and dedication.

In response to dealing with this predicament, through the use of technology, TNGS created innovative NG Virtual Camps. This was a concept that blended sports training exercises and soft skills exercises for new talent to overcome during the challenging period.

Players would conduct weekly sessions, with the TNGS coaches providing youngsters with guidelines through personalised Zoom calls.

TNGS coaches have worked in top clubs all over Europe and have obtained their UEFA Pro Licences. Some of the academy’s coaches work at La Liga clubs Levante UD and Villarreal CF, with others having played at Valencia and Real Madrid.

These aspects make them specialised in high performance training and talent development, with their video calls for the online camp focusing on the following three areas:

  • Soft skills sessions: Organising exercises and providing knowledge on how to develop the mental abilities of players so that they are able to reach their maximum potential in this area
  • Technical sessions: Teaching the concepts of the sport which have defined Spanish football over its history
  • On the field: Initiate team activities that develop challenges so coaches are able to evaluate factors such as creativity, empathetic communication, cooperation and much more.

These sessions, that were completed in the virtual camp, were a perfect scenario to educate young players on a variety of matters, including tactical concepts, game intelligence and technical and physical aspects in multiple situations during a game.

“The TNGS virtual camp was an amazing experience for me. It was informative, well organised…it was not only about football, it was about mentality, how to be a good person, things that are crucial in life, success, and school,” a student of the program explained after experiencing the opportunity with other players of various cultures.

A list of other details from the TNGS website on their methodology for teaching players can be found below:

  • Individualized training to strengthen the player’s effective and quick responses based on the tactical principles of the game.
  • Application of Visual Coaching strategies for reading, understanding and decision making in the field.
  • Match and training analysis to improve self-knowledge and self-confidence.
  • Creation of a profile and individual technical report that is reviewed monthly.
  • Specific plans for preparatory periods, holidays and free time that complement the role of the player
  • Establishment of weekly objectives for the development of self-determination and task orientation.
  • Cater for all specific needs: Physiotherapy, Sports Psychology, Nutrition.

For more information about TNGS click here.

Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

DFL and AWS introduce two new Match Facts to Bundesliga coverage

Bundesliga analysis

The Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have announced the addition of two new Bundesliga Match Facts powered by AWS that will premiere as graphics during broadcasts and in the official Bundesliga app during the 2021-2022 season.

The two new Match Facts – Shot Efficiency and Passing Profile – will bring the total number of advanced statistics to eight, with each of them aiming to give fans deeper insights into the action on the pitch.

The first of the new advanced stats – Shot Efficiency – compares the number of goals that a player or team has scored with how many goals the player or team should have scored based on the quality of their chances.

The second – Passing Profile – provides deeper insights into the pass quality of a player or an entire team. Both of the stats are generated by gathering and analysing the match feeds from live games in real time as they are streamed into AWS.

Both new stats made their debut during Matchday 4 on the clash between German Champion FC Bayern München and the second-placed team of the previous season RB Leipzig.

The two new Match Facts will better showcase the action on the field – giving fans, coaches, players, and commentators visual support for analysing the decision-making of players and teams.

Andreas Heyden, Executive Vice President of Digital Innovations for DFL Group, was excited to further innovate the matchday experience for viewers based both domestically and internationally.

“Bundesliga Match Facts powered by AWS allows us to give fans more insight into the game of football, broadcasters more interesting stories to tell and coaches and teams, more data to excel at their game,” he said.

“Last year, the reception for Bundesliga Match Facts around the world was very positive, and we expect through ML and AI to continue to innovate on these analytics to make them even better.

“These two new stats give fans a view into player efficiency that hasn’t been achieved before, and we are just at the beginning of our relationship with AWS. I’m excited to see how technology will continue to evolve the fan experience and the game.”

Football South Australia announce inaugural delivery of AFC/FA ‘A’ Licence

Veart

Football South Australia have announced an exciting opportunity for SA coaches to undertake an AFC/FA ‘A’ Licence in their own state for the first time ever.

The course is a fantastic opportunity for SA’s strong contingent of 90 B Licence holders to be able to elevate their expertise to the next level from the comfort of familiar surroundings.

The Football Australia ‘A’ Licence course is designed to support coaches working with senior players or older youth players in a professional or semi-professional environment where coaches will have three or four training sessions plus a match each week.

Part A will be at the new Summit Sports and Recreation Park in Mount Barker and VALO Football Centre, while Parts B and C will be held at the new State Centre for Football in Gepps Cross in 2022.

Football South Australia can also today announce that registrations are now open for a B Licence, which will take place in January 2021.

Football South Australia CEO Michael Carter was delighted to introduce the new courses for coaches looking to push on in their careers.

“Coach education is an extremely important function of Football South Australia and we are delighted to be hosting an A-License coaching course in Adelaide. For years local coaches have had to travel interstate for the A-License meaning the cost per participant increased,” he said.

“The timing of the course will see components hosted at the soon to be completed State Centre for Football. The headquarters will be an education hub for coaches, referees and players via our pathway programs.”

Coach Education Manager Alec Wilson expressed his excitement for South Australian coaches.

“I am very excited with the announcement of a first-ever A-Licence in SA. This has been a year in the making and something Football South Australia has been wanting to host for a number of years,” he said.

“The announcement is a reward for everyone’s hard work and determination and shows our dedication in providing the best coach education opportunities for the growth of the game.

“To have all three pinnacle courses (A, B and C Licences) at home in our own state is a landmark in coach development and I look forward to seeing our coaches thrive, and in turn, provide better coaching for our players.”

The Football Australia/AFC ‘A’ Licence can be accessed here. Applications close on October 29, 2021.

The Football Australia/AFC ‘B’ Licence can be accessed here. Applications close on December 10, 2021.

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