What is it and How does it fit in the club?
Looking at the definition of philosophy to begin with, translated you would get something along the lines of:
- the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline.
- a particular system of philosophical thought.
The definition we are most interested in this instance is the latter. We want to pay particular interest and understanding of a particular system of soccer philosophical thought. To look at this in a simplistic fashion the macro system of player development philosophy and the micro-components of what goes into this.
What is a Player Development Strategy?
A Player Development Plan (PDP) is a strategic document that seeks to bring together elements of an organizations corporate plan such as values and vision and combine them with the practical and theoretical ideology that determine how our club will develop our athletes.
In further detail it is the construction of a way of working that has a structure, policies and methodology for providing a fun, safe, healthy and nurturing environment and is fundamental to achieving
any success in the short, medium and long term.
Particularly for a US Youth Club, having a plan that allows players, parents and staff to see (within reason) the purpose and methods in what a club are doing is imperative to grow confidence and consistency of message.
Where does it all fit together?
Is it under the ‘vision of the club’?
No, that is the purpose and reason that the club has for being. Whilst that may be a ‘philosophy’ on running a club, it isn’t a philosophy on how players will develop.
Is it under the curriculum?
Well, no, because the curriculum is the practical activities that form the ‘how and what’ of the philosophy. If we don’t know what our belief is with regards to developing players then how do we know what principles to teach?
The philosophy of player development sits in the document that guides the practical progression of players throughout the club, the ‘Player Development Plan’ (PDP). This is the document that houses the beginning, middle and end of a players cycle with the club and speaks to players, parents, coaches and administrators. Specifically, the philosophy should be the section of this document that is set out first and if there is ever a question on “why are we doing it this way?” it is the philosophy that you always come back to. It runs throughout the reason for doing anything involved in player development at the club.