In this episode, Joey Cascio and I chat a bit about team development versus individual development.
This is an ever-present framing in many soccer circles.
That’s to say, the narratives out there pit these two against each other – as if they are opposing forces.
For example, if coaches care about things like building a recognizable style of play, recruiting new players, and yes, even winning, the claim – here in the States anyways – is all that is at the expense of individual player development.
Have you ever heard the phrase “just let the kids play”?
Yeah, that very phrase encapsulates all these notions and narratives which basically say:
Focus on team = bad.
Focus on individual = good.
Well, it’s time we start dispelling this.
You can’t develop an individual without a team, and you can’t develop a team with the individuals.
The better the individuals, the better the team development, and the better the team development, the better the individual development.
This is another example of a virtuous cycle, which we touched on in episode #299.
So the question really becomes “how do you optimize”?
Because both things – the team, and the individual – are fundamental.
At the end of the day, sure, there may exist some sort of short, medium, long, and very long-term metric or metrics that maybe signal whether good or bad development occurred.
But, and here’s where I put my math and physics hat on, it’s practically intractable to precisely ascribe who or what was responsible for a particular piece of a player’s development.
And it could always be debated.
Because the credit can be split between:
- The player themselves. I mean, they are ultimately the ones who have to both do the work and perform.
- The parents or close kin.
- Their personal trainer.
- Their team coach.
- Their circle of friends and cultural environment.
- The club or clubs they happen to play at.
- The league they’re a part of.
- The Federation.
- The city, state, or country they’re in.
I mean all of these things and more have influence, so where does the credit go and how much?
In any case, Joey and I had an open unplanned chat on a range of topics that one way or another tie into the individual versus team development topic.
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