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Now We're Talking Football

Beyond The Pitch - Tom Byer

Sunday, October 02, 2011


Anto is joined by youth development guru Tom Byer from Japan to have a serious look at grassroots football training starting as soon as 5-6 years old as it stands today in Japan in order to compare it to how the United States approaches its training focus and the best practices found in the Far East. Tom has been teaching football techniques to children in Japan for more than 20 years and his training programs have since developed into one of the most effective and recognised training systems throughout the region. With more than 2,000 football events for over 500,000 kids, parents and coaches, Tom has established the largest football school business in Japan and around the world, with over 80 schools, 150 full-time coaches and 15,000 kids. We get underneath his ideas on development, how the coaching pyramid tends to overlook the most important age group and why the football environment is so precious in the developing footballers. We also take a deep dive into how the Japanese have implemented, targeted and created an organized framework to identify its hottest prospects along with elite skills training. As Tom will point out, success in football starts at the bottom rungs on the pyramid and that developing successful footballers is not an accident in Japan as young players are encouraged to play 365 days a year rather than playing for a season on a recreational level. Tom also gives us a look into China where the potential for the future is just massive and how the Chinese view organized sport. In the end we circle back to the issue of environment and how the United States in its eager attempt to self-examine has reached to Tom and around the world for the biggest shortcomings of the past.

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