Kinja Development Centre Takes New Approach Into Youth Development

Posted by Harry Sherman on 9 March 2018

Kinja FC Development Centre Twitter Image

Kinja Football Club have opened a brand-new Development Centre project, which will allow boys and girls from 10 years old and below to develop their football skills, in a fun and challenging environment, to master their individual ball skills, before moving to more competitive sides in the U11 age category.

Following our merger with Camden Town Ladies FC, which provides an exit pathway for our female players to go on and play for a fully established ladies side, Kinja sought to establish a programme which encouraged boys and girls to play football from a younger age [our youngest full side is our U11 Boys team], and develop the key skills and components required in order to prosper, and succeed in competitive football, both through their teenage years, as well as into the adults game. However, we wanted to make sure that the children that come into the club at such a young age are given the best chance to develop as young football players, with a programme designed to put them one step ahead of every other child at every other club, at their same age.

Using the combined knowledge and experience of the clubs Chairman and Vice Chairman, Pranay Dhanani and Harry Sherman, as well as thorough research into the development of youth players, and the methodologies to provide the best opportunities to children that want to get into football, one name continuously came up when it comes to Youth Development, and that is when we paid close attention to American-born Tom Byer, who has spent over 20 years running youth soccer camps in Japan, and was appointed Head Technical Advisor by the Chinese FA in 2012.

Tom Byer is incredibly well known for his "football starts home" philosophy, which emphasises the need for players to start practicing their technical skills from as young as 2 years old. According to Byer, between the ages of 2 and 6 years old is when the core technical skills are developed within children. There is also a much greater chance that players who haven't developed these skills, before they join an organized match-playing side, will drop out of the sport after just 1-2 years.

It was this philosophy that was brought in when setting up the Kinja Development Centre. For players of any technical ability to come into the session and work on their individual skills, before practicing them at home, is vitally important before introducing them to organized play and more competitive matches. Opening up the Development Centre for children aged 10 and below also allows any players who missed out on that 2-6 year old window of development, to begin working on these core skills and develop them to the point where they are competent enough to enjoy the game as much as possible, thus reducing the drop-out rate as they enter their teenage years, which is a massive problem, not just in England, but worldwide.

After connecting with Tom Byer through his Twitter account, he also speaks of the importance of parent involvement too, saying that "a team should have ball mastery at the centre of their development and ensuring they engage parents of young kids, to make sure they understand the importance. Parents are crucial for the success of their kids." As the contact time with coaches can be anywhere between 1-4 hours weekly, the importance of parents' involvement and encouragement in helping their child work on these ball mastery skills is significant. This is because their understanding of the skills that are being taught during sessions, allows them to encourage, monitor and help their child work on these at home. More time learning skills = Better they become at skills = More engaged in the sport = More practice = More enjoyment.

As the Kinja Development Centre grows, continuous feedback will be given to the parents, as well as informing them on the skills that have been worked on during the sessions, which will allow them to make sure these skills are practiced with a small ball at home. Therefore, the work that is going on within the Kinja Development Centre, really encourages young players to stay in the sport throughout their teenage years, which will help them socially, physically and mentally in the long term.

For more information about the Kinja Development Centre, please fill in the application form on our website. Alternatively, please email us at info.kinjafc@gmail.com or give us a call on 07379 729 615. We look forward to working with you to help your child fall in love with our beautiful game.

For more information on the work done by Tom Byer, please refer to the below links:
Tom Byer - Youth Development
Tom Byer - Grassroots Game Changer
Tom Byer - Look To Parents, Not Coaches, To Create World Class Players

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