The IDF player development program consist of 3 distinct progressive phases:
Most players this age group enter IDF through what we call the Next Generation or NextGen program. At this stage the emphasis is on player movement, coordination, passing, receiving, and working towards developing a world class first touch, while nurturing the love for the game. Activities at this stage are conducted in a creative and enjoyable way to keep the youngest minds engaged to foster learning.
Our players at this stage learn how to train while mastering the skills, discipline and progressive focus and it is great to witness how quickly their love and desire to attend practice develops and flourishes. During this moment of their development they will be exposed to all of the ingredients that will prepare them for the next phase of their education. The outcome from this stage of development, is a player with a technical base, with little to no fear of making mistakes and prepared to enter the next phase of his/her education. Players at IDF are often asking to have practice time extended because of how much they enjoy the exercises, which are used to teach the fundamentals.
The process of player development works flawlessly when supported by the parents. In this regards, IDF insists that when parents, players and coaches work together (The Magic Triangle), player development is accelerated, especially at this impressionable age.
technical and tactical education phase
During this phase, technical development continues coupled with an introduction of some basic tactical concepts that ensures proper translation of acquired technical ability from training to match situations. In addition, players are introduced to resistance training with careful consideration being given to Long Term Athletic Development (LTAD). The LTAD work, is supervised by a qualified professional who understands how it applies to the development of soccer players.
In this stage of development, through observation, the players’ abilities are identified and developed from a positional play perspective. For most players, this identification is self-evident however, we exercise patience and caution for the few who may need further observation, experimentation or just time to develop to their fullest potential without undue pressure.
As we continue to educate players in this phase, we work with them to determine and to develop the assets they will need to play effectively in particular positions. At this stage our training sessions are still group sessions with individual needs incorporated.
At the end of this intermediate stage of development, our players are well educated on the HOW, WHERE, WHEN and WHY we do things the way we do.
tactical and team education phase
In this phase, we work with players to integrate the technical and tactical information from the previous phases into the team environment. Typically, at this stage, players would have been with IDF for several years and should have acquired the fundamentals that will allow them to be proficient in a team environment.
Our players learn how to become a team player, how to function in a professional or college environment by also developing mental strength and tactical maturity.
Coaches are continuing their efforts to ensure players understand how we play as a team and are applying the technical and tactical education appropriately to the team environment both in practice and in games. At this stage, technical/tactical frequency increases to 4-5 times per week. In addition, resistance training continues as well and players are challenged constantly to watch and critique professionals as well as their matches.
Players get exposed to a broad range of professional opportunities with trips to European professional clubs to compete. It is a critical part of our philosophy that we produce players that are technically and tactically adept enough to function effectively in the college, semi-professional and/or professional environments anywhere in the world.
Finally, IDF coaches frequently check to ensure that players understand the philosophy of the club which is driven by a desire to produce technically proficient and intelligent players. IDF training sessions are focused on players being comfortable on the ball and the ability to bring the ball out of the back during matches and enter the attacking third comfortably. Coaches also look for evidence of such understanding during practice sessions, in the first instance, and ultimately in games.