Here at SSA, we are very passionate about creating a whole individual as well as a football player. We believe that a massive part of this development comes from multi-skills and multi-sports sessions to develop every single fundamental movement skill (FMS).
As part of our extensive SSA youth coach CPD programme over the 3rd lockdown period, we delivered a 2-hour session all about multi-skills. The aims of this session were to provide our youth coaches with an understanding of the importance of FMS for kids and it’s cross transfer to other sports, to provide an understanding of the athletic skills model (ASM) that is used by Ajax FC and to give our youth coaches many ideas and examples of how both FMS and ASM can be seamlessly integrated into every one of our youth sessions to maximise the potential for all of the kid’s development.
The ASM that is used by Ajax FC is something that inspires us at SSA and the integration of some of the key ASM areas into SSA youth practices is very important. Unfortunately, kids today have fewer FMS, are more sensitive to lifestyle diseases, have a greater chance to drop out of sport and play less outside. However, the incorporation of the ASM into youth football coaching sessions with the combination of deliberate practice (i.e. football-specific training) and deliberate play (i.e. other sports and fun games)actively works to fight this and create a well-rounded and healthier individual later in life! Former England rugby head coach Stuart Lancaster fully supports the ASM concept, stating that sport generalisation compared to sport specialisation creates “the best decision-makers” and “the best players”. Lancaster also promotes the impact that sport generalisation has on an individual’s ability to be resilient and discusses how the most successful Olympians specialise later in sport, emphasising the importance of sports generalisation in creating well-rounded and developed individuals in every sport not just within youth football. You can read into this further by visiting:
At Ajax FC, their 7-12-year-old kids spend 45% of their total training time playing other sports such as judo, gymnastics and track and field. The reason behind this is to transfer skills from these sports to football that a kid would never be able to learn from just practising football and the vast amounts of football coaching they receive. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a fantastic example of a player who came through the Ajax youth system and now uses his martial arts training to uniquely express himself on the football pitch, for example, his 35-yard bicycle kick against England. Other examples of players who have had huge benefits from the cross transfer of other sports are Jill Scott who was an elite long-distance runner as a kid, this provided her with the key skills to become one of England women’s greatest ever box-to-box midfielders. Thibaut Courtois was an elite basketball player as a kid and is now one of the best goalkeepers in the world thanks to the elite ball-handling he obtained from playing basketball. Hopefully, you will be able to see all the exciting benefits of the incorporation of FMS training and ASM into SSA youth coaching in your kid’s football performance and everyday life moving forward!