During one of my regular soccer player training symposia, I showed them a video. They were to say whether a decision the referee in that video took was right or wrong. Unfortunately none of them was able to explain to me using the FIFA law on Penalty (LAW 14). For that reason, this article is channelled towards soccer player training off the soccer field.
Football clubs need to provide sufficient knowledge of these rules and principles as well as succinct topics about the game of football. Inasmuch as most of these young players are extremely talented on the field, they need to be trained to be successful wherever they find themselves. To achieve that, football clubs need to indulge them in a Human Resource Management training and development venture.
Training, as a Human Resource Management principle involves a process of providing Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSA’s) specific to a particular task or job. Training is only appropriate when skills and knowledge are missing whiles the individual is willing to learn. It provides the skills that can be used immediately and is an excellent solution for solving any short term skill gap.
Developmental activities on the other hand, have a long term focus on preparing for future responsibilities while increasing the capacities of players and technical team to perform their current jobs. These activities are broader in scope than training activities. It is however worth noting that pertaining to soccer clubs, though effective on seasonal periods, should align their training and development solutions to their long term goals.
In Ghana, most soccer clubs place a lot of emphasis on elaborate skills and on-the-field training and development of the players. Lower tier clubs do not even do such training to perfection. Majority of the clubs also potentially ignore the development and training of their technical team, coaches and players to be abreast with the latest technology. This goes a long way to affect the players’ performance on the field.
Though widely patronized, on-field training and development may not be properly done due to lack of expertise in the areas of importance. Additionally, off-field training and development for players and technical team is not included in their daily and seasonal routines. The assiduous efforts by the Football Association to fix this problem have still not achieved the desired results. As such, more must be done to change this phenomenon.
It is therefore imperative that objectives and programs for players off the field are closely aligned to the club’s seasonal strategic goals. A systematic and complete process is used to determine the needs of the player, develop the training of the player, and eventually evaluate the player’s outcomes. A well-known instructional design model that is conclusive to any type of learning is called the ADDIE MODEL.
ADDIE stands for A- needs ASSESSMENT; D- program DESIGN; D- program DEVELOPMENT; I- program IMPLEMENTATION, and E-EVALUATION:
The first phase is Assessment. Here, data is collected to identify gaps between actual and desired performance of club players and the technical team. If those gaps point to the lack of players’ knowledge and skills on topics like; soccer formations, drills, tactics, laws of the game and so on; specific training objectives are established to address the on-field and off-field training needs.
The Design phase is where initial decisions on training course contents, course goals and objectives, delivery methods (on and off field) and implementation strategies are made. The outcome of the design phase is a rough sketch of what the final training program will look like. All major content components are described including the order and method in which they will be presented –whether on-field or most importantly, off-field seminar.
In the Development phase, materials are created, purchased and or modified to meet the stated objectives. The club’s hierarchy determines if there is the need to change training tactics or purchase more training equipment and also, get players and coaches to go on refresher courses more often especially during the off season periods. Some clubs rely on external facilitators to make this development stage a success. It is important to state that at this phase, the type of training programs becomes an integral part of planning.
In the implementation stage, the program is delivered to the target audience. Several questions at this phase needs to be asked. Some of these questions may include:
- What are the learning objectives of the program?
- What are the cost limitations?
- What is the time frame for the program?
- What equipment is available for delivering the program?
- Who is the audience?
There are however, several common training approaches categorised as classroom training, self directed study, e-learning, blended learning and on-the-job training.
The Evaluation phase consists of comparing the program results to the established objectives to determine whether the original needs were met.
Indicators such as; players and technical team reactions, learning, behavioural changes regarding their KSA’s ; and changes in club’s performance should all be considered when evaluating training results.
This Human Resource Model is important for soccer clubs and should be inculcated into their seasonal planning policies and training itinerary. As such, for clubs to receive the full value of their off-field training and development, they simply have to outsource it to top-notch Human Resource personnel who understand the football metrics in the country.
Furthermore, players in their own small way can add to their skills by individually doing private and personal off field learning and training to aid them in the event of soccer trials outside their regular and usual domain of dominance.
Kwame Gyan Dankyi
A Sports Human Resource Management Expert.