I am currently reading Ledley King’s autobiography. The imaginatively titled “King” details the author’s rise to becoming one of England’s best (if not most injury prone) defenders in recent times. It’s always interesting to hear about where and how people got started and made their way to the top; however, a few pages in, Ledley discusses his views on the responsibilities of the coach and the responsibilities of the player in terms of player development. It’s not new or particularly profound, but I think it’s worth sharing:
Certainly at that [youth] level, the coach develops the team, but the individual has the responsibility to develop himself. Practice is everything. You get help with shooting and passing and your first touch, but ultimately you have to work on these things yourself if you’re going to get to where you want to go.
I get the feeling in America and our club/adult-dominated soccer scene, people often place the responsibility for player development on the coach. I think Ledley King has it right: the coach guides the team and helps with technical development; however, players have to put the time in on their own if they want to improve. Time spent at the local field/community space/street playing soccer with friends cannot be overrated or understated.