Talent development from the perspective of a young mind
In the world of football, early specializing and early selection have been debated for a long time. The meaning about this topic is many, and the direction from the Danish FA, Dansk Boldspil-Union (DBU), is clear – specializing as late as possible. Some of the arguments of doing late specializing can be found in early burn-outs, i.e. if kids experience early specializing or not making the cut in early selection, they have a higher drop-out rate. However, if we want to have the most talented players to develop as much as possible, they have to be challenged, since no one evolves by being inside his or her comfort zone all the time.
The best example of a clear strategy
The best example in Denmark of how early specializing and selection can affect an organization is found in FC Nordsjælland (FCN). FCN have an opposite approach than DBU, since FCN will make the selection as early as possible. By doing this, FCN have the opportunity to affect the way the young players see and perceives football. This can also be seen in the following quote from FCN:
“The streamlined organization of ball possession, technical, attacking and attractive football, is passed from the youngest years to the club’s first team. In order to stick to the streamlined organization, the club also always strives to have and train the best coaches and leaders in the country to ensure a streamlined talent development and gaming philosophy throughout the club” (FC Nordsjælland)
The result of their strategy gives FCN the opportunity to include the young players into the first team at a young age. Furthermore, it is beneficial for FCN when they are able to bring young players into the first team, because it makes them more valuable and is therefore obviously easier to sell at a higher price.
How would the mindset affect Danish talent development?
By looking at the case of FCN, it would be interesting how DBU and Danish talent development would benefit for a long and consistent strategy with focus on early specializing and selection. If parallels are drawn to other sports e.g. ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet have auditions before joining the school and every year have auditions to get the offer for another year at the school.
Returning to the case of DBU – How do you think Danish talent development would look like by implementing auditions to enter the specific teams? And how do you think the effect for the most gifted players would be?
I would love to hear your thoughts about early specializing and selection, with focus on developing the best talents.
See you on the pitches
Simon Pablo Bodholt
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