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Is Premier League barking up wrong tree when it comes to coaching? – SportsUntapped.com
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Added August 6th, 2010 by Ian

Is Premier League barking up wrong tree when it comes to coaching?
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The English Premier League recently announced it will at least triple hours of coaching for promising youngsters in England as a way to help the country improve the quality of its national team.

The league’s academies will offer about 15 to 20 hours of coaching per week for children who are aged nine to 16. That’s a hefty increase from the five hours they currently receive. It also means they’ll get more coaching than kids the same age do in Holland and Germany.

The plan might also see the addition of some football schools in the country and it was actually agreed to by the 20 Premier League teams before this summer’s World Cup in South Africa. Of course, the World Cup saw one of England’s worst ever performances on the field as they were held to draws by the USA and Algeria and were walloped 4-1 by Germany in the second round, representing their worst World Cup loss ever.

The numbers show there were 222 players who qualified as English who played first-team football for teams in the Premier League last season, which translates into 11 per team and that should be plenty enough to find 11 of them who are good enough for international duty. However, the Football Association doesn’t want a team that picks itself it wants to see a team where there is a lot of competition for starting spots, with about 40 or 50 top rate players to choose from.

At the moment, according to Ged Roddy, who is the director of youth development for the Premier League, he said the average 18-year-old player at Dutch team Ajax receives about 6,000 hours of coaching, while the same player in England receives about 2,500 hours.  He said it’s time for England to pull up its socks and rebuild its system so youngsters can receive up to 10,000 hours of coaching time. The English Football Association looks after youth development in the country and the Premier League’s new program is seen as part of the development strategy for elite players in the country.

However, perhaps the Football Association and the league should also look into who’s doing the coaching when it comes to young players. There are enough English players to choose from, so perhaps they’re barking up the wrong tree and it’s the coaching that needs to be improved. Remember, it usually comes down to quality not quantity. It doesn’t matter how many hours of coaching the players receive if it isn’t up to snuff.

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