Concept of players development
When thinking about players development, there is an important motto that we must absolutely keep in mind. That is "Players First!", namely, "think of players first". When making decisions on various levels day after day, or when difficult challenges occur during reforms etc., we must always return to these words. There may be many problems and difficulties. But we should try to overcome these problems and difficulties and think matters always keeping in mind what is best for children.
The motto that we must always return to, "Players First!"
We must not care victories or defeats in domestic matches, we must always consider the world as standard.
We, JFA's Technical Committee, have been holding up the "Promotion of strengthening plans, considering the world as standard", since about 10 years ago. We consider that it is essential to promote the day by day strengthening and development of players, clearly establishing the world as standard and always thinking about what is necessary in order to play at world's level. And now, we are aiming to be ranked in the world's top 10.
But, of course, "aim to" does not mean just vaguely saying " we are aiming". Without concrete approaches, we will never be able to achieve our goal. Therefore, since before, we are inspecting world tournaments of each age, and we are making technical reports about these. This is a very important activity in order to promote practically the cycle of the lower illustration.
This activity is not a mere report of the tournaments. We extract issues from these reports, according to their content, we create a scenario of the issues, we take the necessary measures in Japan National teams of each age, in youth development ( National Training Centre) and in coaches development, we try to overcome these issues and we challenge to world tournaments of each age again, this is our cycle. That is, finding issues, creating a scenario for the solution of these issues, transmitting them to and having them carried out by appropriate organisations, without these things, this study does not make sense.
We are aiming to transmit the contents of this study to the whole Japan football world, to share information and trends of players' future strengthening and development and to enhance Japan's level.
For this purpose, it is necessary not only to create and disseminate technical studies' reports, but also its contents should be reflected to Technical Committee's various programs, short term issues should be reflected to the national team, medium term issues to youth development and coaches training and long-term issues to the grassroots. These contents and issues will be utilized in various forms in various activities, for example in the creation of coaching policies, in the establishment of themes and contents of National Training Centre, in the examination of the contents of coaches trainings, in the implementation of projects and in the transmission of information through Football Conferences and "Technical News".
The world's football is developing moment for moment. In modern football, in order to play against the world, it is essential to continue following and catching u its trends.
For this purpose, the process of establishing a Technical Study Group (TSG) , analyzing the trends and creating a technical report, and proceeding in the strengthening taking the report into account, is regarded as important and it is becoming a common sense of the world's top level football.
Also Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) since 1966, has been creating a Technical Study Group of experts during tournaments organised by FIFA and it has been creating a technical report about each team's preparation before the tournaments, comments regarding matches during the tournaments, nomination of man of the match etc. Its role is to analyze the changes of trends in football, to transmit the developments of tactics to football associations of each country, and to make coaches all over the world utilize these informations in their daily activities. Moreover, FIFA's TSG has also the role of analyzing and making projects so that football itself can continue to develop.
Since 1998 FIFA World Cup and 2002 FIFA World Cup held in Japan, JFA has been promoting this full-scale activity. Now, we are promoting also technical studies about youth generations' domestic tournaments, analyzing not only National "A" team's tournaments, but also U-20's, U-17's, Women's tournaments, and not only world tournaments but also Asian tournaments and through this analysis and comparison, we are trying to define Japan's present situation.
Trinity : Overall approach to National team's strengthening, youth development, coaches trainings + diffusion
In order to compete with the world on equal levels
As a Japan's football reinforcement measure, we, Japan Football Association Technical Committee, are holding up a "Trinitarian strengthening plan" under the proposition "What should we do in order to make Japan compete on equal levels with world's first ranked countries?". The "Trinitarian Strengthening plan" is a system in which the three sections of 1) National team's strengthening, 2) Youth (young players) development, 3) Coaches training share the same knowledge and information and maintaining a close relationship between each other, allows players development and improvement of Japanese football's level. "The issues of Japan's football" analyzed, evaluated, identified in each generation's world cup tournaments etc., are spread to Japan football's world through these three sections.
According to the word "Trinitarian", these three sections are closely related and in order to strengthen Japan football, it is necessary to integrate these sections and to improve all of them.
The national team's strengthening is not only a short-term strengthening of representative players, but it should be carried out during daily training in their teams. Moreover, players do not suddenly became good and strong players as soon as they become adults, but they are strengthened little by little from youth age. It is clear worldwide that countries that are negligent in developing youth players have no future. Top class countries or top class clubs give great importance to youth development. In Japan, through the training centre system, headed by the National Training Centre, framework of youth development of whole Japan is established, and its level is improved through Elite program, JFA Academy etc.
Coaches are daily coaching these players, so if the level of this daily coaching is not high, it won't be possible to develop good players. That is, for a good development of youth players, the improvement of coaches' quality is essential. So, with the aim of training as many high-quality coaches as possible, we are working on the increase of training courses and on the enhancement of retraining.
No National team's strengthening without grassroots
After 2002, after 2002 FIFA World Cup, we focused on a principle that was lacking in our conventional plan, the importance of the diffusion. We changed the concept into "Trinity + diffusion" and we have started various projects such as Kids' Program.
No National team's strengthening without grassroots! We believe that the presence of people loving football, kids and football family members, gives consistency and total power to football of that country. As stated above, the concept of "Trinity + diffusion" held up by Japan Football Association Technical Committee, means that for the development / strengthening of Japan's football, it is absolutely necessary for the three sections to be oriented in the same direction, as one body and to promote short, medium nad long-term plans.
Players development in a long-term perspective
"Players development in a long-term perspective". This is a very important way of thinking held up by JFA in the youth development. The main goal to pursuit should not be occasional victories at hand, but the maximum growth of one player in the period of independence. The development speed of human organs and faculties varies from person to person and children are not miniatures of adults. There is an age in which issues are easily assimilated and an age in which issues are assimilated with difficulty. Presenting issues at the age of easy assimilation will finally lead to players' maximum growth. That it is.
For that purpose, we are stating the importance of a "consistent coaching". This does not mean that coaching should be done only in integrated schools or clubs with many integrated categories. It means that coaches of all over Japan should share this way of thinking and coach the assigned generations keeping in mind the player's future and whole aspect, and that players have the possibility to be coached in the same way in different teams and under different coaches.
In order to complete each player's big project, the player's whole aspect, many coaches should be concerned in the player's process of growth and should take over and succeed the players development. Each generation will finally be able to shine greatly if developed in a manner suitable for that generation. This should be kept in mind as the major premise by all the coaches who are engaged in it.
For that purpose, it is necessary to know the mental and physical characteristics of each generation's players during the age of growth, and this is included as compulsory content in coaches training courses. This way of thinking is necessary because each age of growth has different characteristics. This may be easily learned, but it may be difficult to apply these knowledge in the daily coaching of teams of specific categories.
We, JFA Technical Committee, are creating and presenting a coaching guidance for each generation of players. Until 2000, there was only one guideline, but since 2004 we have been presenting coaching guidelines, coaching policies for players from U-6 to U-16 in units of 2 years. Our aim was to emphasize the importance of doing things that should be done in accordance with players' age.
On the other hand, we think that it is also important to know the whole aspect. We think that the perfect coach is the person who coaches the assigned generation knowing its whole aspect. Considering the assigned generation as a specific stage composing the whole aspect is the starting point for players development in a long-term perspective.
Direction that Japan should take, Japan's Way
Japan has been observing the world football's trends of development and has been developing, learning many things from the strong football of foreign countries and creating its own system. There was a period in which Japan was imitating world top class countries and had to play coping opponent's characteristics, but in this way, it is impossible to become one of the world's top 10 teams and to debut in the world.
In order to make Japan reach and overtake world's top class countries, overcoming domestic wins and losses, we must continue observing and learning world football's trends of development and, instead of imitating other strong countries, we should pursue and establish Japan's own football, making the best use of the qualities of Japanese players.
Japan has its own characteristics. Japan may be inferior to other countries in physique and power, but as recognized in FIFA's technical reports etc., Japan has many qualities such as technical ability ( ankles' softness etc.) , agility, unity power, diligence, tenacity, fair play etc. Nadeshiko JAPAN, that has defeated teams superior in physique and power such USA and Germany in 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, embodies Japan's football and its qualities. Thanks to these characteristics, not only Japanese teams but also Japanese players are appreciated and now, both male and female Japanese players are actively playing in Europe's strong club teams.
Making efforts to compensate deficiencies, developing strong points of Japanese players and playing in Japan's own style making the best use of these qualities, this is Japan's Way. These words does not only indicate specific team and game tactics, but they are representing the thinking of aiming to a football which makes the best use of Japanese qualities and they are used in order to share this image of football. We are going to work on the sharing of this image and of standards during preparation, and we are making efforts to make players learn techniques ( technique + decision), endurance ( power) and individual tactics of being continuously involved in offence and defence that can be learnt only in developing age. And , we must not forget that world's standards are continuously developing. The world is continuing making efforts and is continuously progressing. So, in order to reach and overtake the world, we must make more efforts than the world.