For the players it is all about age appropriate physical, technical and mental development, based on a long term development plan. We have together with Next Generation Football at Valencia CF in Spain, developed the Bermuda Long Term Player Development Plan, based on modern periodization system which takes into consideration the correct physical, mental and emotional development of the human being, obviously with a focus on football. However, the same periodization structure applies to any sport or specilized task like playing an instrument, learning a language, etc.
Secondly, the right environment is very important for player development. This applies to the physical infrastructure, tools, training structures, scheduling, and the actual delivery of the curriculum by the properly licensed coaches. In order to reach the level required to meet the international requirements, this is an area of focus for Bermuda and the ABC Football Foundation. A lot more needs to be done in this area, not just investments in infrastructure, but probably more important, to create full time paid professions around coaching, administration and support who have the time and understanding what it takes. Think of teachers in our schools and what they have to master today to teach our children the modern curriculum with all the information and tools available.
The third element of proper player development is the competitive aspect and exposure. No team sport can be fully taught or developed unless the pressure and all aspects of the competitive challenge as a team is introduced. However, it is important that the format of the competitive element is introduced at the right time, in the right format, the expectations are correct, and that the community respect that it takes until a player is at least 20 to 23 years old before they are fully developed players. In a small island nation like Bermuda, this task takes on so many more dimensions compared to a large society, dimensions that create significant barriers for the sports and its players. ABC Football Foundation is now putting a lot of effort and resources into addressing this issue and finding solutions that will benefit all footballers in Bermuda.