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Project 10,000

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you may end up somewhere else.”
     – Yogi Berra

Talent is made, not born, here’s how
Want to be the best player YOU can be? It turns out that It’s not about who has the most competitive coach, best uniform, elite tournaments, it’s not about whose team wins state cup, it’s about the quality hours you put in, only the person can make the player. Talent is made not born, it’s cultivated.  Project 10,000 is a system to make that happen.

What is it?
Project 10,000 is a training program for improving individual technical ability. Using our unique assessment, evaluation and deliberate practice system,  players are able to assess their current level, evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, build skill-specific training sessions for targeted player development, and track improvement over time.
Project 10000 explained

“It is those who are successful, in other words, who are most likely to be given the kinds of special opportunities that lead to further success. It’s the rich who get the biggest tax breaks. It’s the best students who get the best teaching and most attention. And it’s the biggest nine- and ten-year-olds who get the most coaching and practice. Success is the result of what sociologists like to call “accumulative advantage.”— Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers)

Experts agree: it takes 10 years and 10,000 hours to achieve mastery.  Whether it’s chess, tennis, or soccer that endeavor takes time, lots and lots of time.
Consider the young soccer player. If we assume that player begins at U9 with the goal of putting in 10,000 hours by U19, that’s 1,000 hours a year for ten years.  Sounds like too much?  These are the hours that Maradona, Zidane, Pele put in.  Cruyff put the hours before he was 14.  How did they do it?  Lots and lots of free play.  Games with their friends.   Those hours play are actually cutting edge world class training. Do you think it mattered what team they were on?  Who their coach was? What kind of uniform they wore?  What kind of tournaments they went to?  Those things are not important, and in truth may actually hinder the development of the player by cutting in as time constraints.

Take a look at the model below.  This model is followed by most travel and elite
Below: Current Youth Soccer Yearly Training Model

Emphasis is on competition and team based training.

Ambitious travel/elite teams do not get even close to building the hours needed to acheive player development success. (450 hours is being very generous, most players, even “elite,” players put in 200-300 hours, and very few of those hours focused on free play or technique).
A thousand hours a year for ten years!  This is the reality of achieving mastery at something. Understand that it is rare that players can fit in that amount of time.  Players are busy and their time is closely structured, but a perfect year might look something like this:

 

Project 10K – A Plan

By building and tracking hours of free play and assessing and directing a deliberate Practice scheme. Project 10,000 assures a balanced and productive approach to youth development.  We focus on the foundation of technical training and Free Play.
Project 10,000 is a system of player development put together after years of study of how kids learn. It is a self-paced, self administered system that allows the player to see the path and get there . It focuses on individual player development, testing kids in five Technical categories then giving them fun, deliberate practice drills to accomplish on their own. It also involves putting in and tracking the hours of pick up play, from 1 v 1 to 15 v 15, kids are encouraged to play and play a lot. (Here Soccer Academy & Training is planning to offer many hours of pick up play each week-more on this later).
As they see their hours build up and their assessment scores rise they are given new tasks, new hours to build. Whether you want to make your Junior Varsity team, dominate coed soccer, or make the national team, you, the player, are the one in control.

Below: A Model of Youth Success

 

A much more balanced approach with emphasis on the player putting in time in free play and deliberate practice.

Where do those hours come from?
It has to be fun, it must be driven by the player and his friends.  In the past the best players have come from underprivileged environments, the favelas of Brazil for instance, where there is a sense that these players have a mentality to work their way out of the streets, but they also have lots of friends nearby and an available game to play, put in the hours and develop. For them, it is not a battle, it is play—in a way, they don’t fight their way out of the streets, they play their way out.

These hours come from accessible games, often close to home, playing in the backyard by themselves, pick up, futsal, free play, 1 on 1 – all outside the typical club environment.