ARMIDALE played host to the best junior football players in the state as well as launching a new Football Federation Australia curriculum.
145 juniors from all over NSW, as well as 18 coaches attended The University of New England for the four day Under 12 and 13 camp which finished on Sunday.
The new Skill Acquisition Program was the basis of the camp and, despite only recently officially beginning, NNSW Technical Director Dave Smith said the results were already showing.
“The principles have been in use for almost eighteen months now and you can see a huge improvement in skill levels,” Smith said.
The program is based around four core skills and is very attack- based.
“Even at national level, Australia doesn’t seem to be producing strikers and forward midfielders,” Smith said.
“The new curriculum is a bit of a reaction to that.”
“We have big, strong, athletic backs but are missing the class and skills up front to score goals.”
“Germany had the same problem with its national side and has done a similar grass roots program.”
The SAP course has broken down the skills and has age targeted training methods state-wide.
The five to nine-year-olds play “fun football” and enjoy the game.
Then the age group between 9 and 13 is known as the “golden age of learning”.
“This is the age where the kids learn and begin to use new skills,” Smith said.
“The building blocks of a complete game are learnt individually at this stage and put together later.”
Then, up until the age of 17 the new program is based on game training and using the new skills together and as a team.
The four core skills are one on one, first touch, striking the ball, and running with the ball.
The game stations set up at SportUNE for the camp focused exclusively on these core skills.
“The new program is aiming to make better technical players,” Smith said.
“We want players to be a lot more comfortable on the ball and play without fear.”
“If you look at the world’s best players, that is how they play, technically near perfect.”
A seminar was held on Wednesday for coaches to get in line with the SAP programs before the camp and the season started.
The players and coaches will now have a gala weekend once a month to continue with the program throughout the year, with the next being at Coffs Harbour.