Volendam – A Club Visit

Volendam is everything you would expect of a community club, a club where the community has etched its traditions and principles in to the identity of the club. The club has a museum and learning center, where a short movie production takes the individual through the history of success’s and difficulties of Volendam. The city has churned out multiple artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, and football players

Currently 6 players in the first team are locals who grew up in Volendam and have come through the academy system.

Analysis of Opponent and Preparation for Game Day

For every game day there needs to be a game plan, where the basis is around ‘Prevention and Exploit’.

  • What is the identity of the opposition
  • The weaknesses
  • How will our own identity exploit opponent’s weaknesses?

Stopping their Strengths

Prevent the flow of the opponent, do not allow the opposition to get a hold of the game and dictate the tempo of the game. Identify the key players and the phases of play in which the opposition has found success. Each team will have a trigger to which they respond to stimulus on the field in both attack and defense, these need to be highlighted so opposition play can be prevented.

Pressure their Weaknesses

This is the coachers role in identifying the tactics which will exploit the oppositions system and style of play. A step back from the unit weakness is the individual player. Looking at the technical and tactical weakness of certain players, their strongest foot, ability to win the ball in the air, and the speed of thought of the player. Additionally, the mental and emotional strength in players can be exploited to gain an advantage.


Every system has a weakness, with certain areas on the field being given away. Systems however are a formation of players to be stood on the field, but the roles and responsibilities are what can change this system throughout the game to where the formation could look like one of many different systems.


Youth Academy

3 full time staff members cover the entire youth academy, working with volunteers who coach the players under the direction and supervision of the academy coaches. To enable this balance the teams practice 4 times a week, where 2 sessions are with the volunteer coach, while the additional 2 sessions are with the full-time academy staff coach. The set up of using part time coaches is from U12 to U17, with the older teams having full time coaches for every session.


  • 50% of the senior squad members being from the region
  • Sell players to other academies and clubs for profit

The Volendam academy has system in place where all players must have equal playing time up to and including U16’s. This is not a game by game basis, but an overall season plan to ensure players are getting adequate playing time throughout the season. U17 and up, it’s up to players to fight for their position.

There are 4 different learning lines highlighted by the Volendam academy, and each player is exposed to experiencing all 4 to develop as an all-round individual.

  • Football – 35%
  • Training – 35%
  • Mentality – 20%
  • Lifestyle – 10%

The principles of Volendam include

  • Dominant in attack and defense
  • Posses to the attacking half, then create

Frans Hoek Sports – What is Real Soccer?

What are we currently doing that prevents the game from being real? When taking away a goal in practice, can this still be soccer real? Is the pressure of parent’s soccer real? No, neither of these allow the game to be soccer real. Soccer has a philosophy in its set of laws and rules, this is objective and cannot be argued with. It is only in belief that a law can be argued with, but this is subjective and deviates away from the real.

Has to be objective, always with a ball, always opponents, always space, time factor, direction, pressure, and rules.

Aim – always to improve the player, and the individual, through its team effort and co-operation.

How do we do this? We find the problem, or the factor preventing the development, then from here we ask the when, where, who, what.

For this to work it must be player-centric, this is not the coach’s problem. To develop the player, or to find a solution to the problem, it must be made to be the players problem. This will provide a buy in from the player in which they will then invest in the process of learning. One of the most effective ways of learning is to teach others, and this can be achieved by having the player show the coach, teaching the coach what they know. What is it that they must know to find success, and what did they learn through the process.

Coach the whole team, all players involved in the process, but lead to the individual coaching for the player directly involved in the process of finding the solution to the problem. All involved must stay calm, emotions during the process will cloud the judgement and ultimately the decision making.

AZ Alkmaar – A Club Visit

AZ Alkmaar are one of the leading clubs in soccer for their holistic approach to club and player development, with a proud tradition of fostering its home-grown talent in to the senior squad. In an age of high financial risk and reward, AZ keep to their principles and philosophy, and maintain a successful club. The focus on development from top to bottom of its club structure allows AZ to not prioritize winning outside of its senior squad.

In the senior squad there are 17 homegrown, developed players, 50% of the starting lineup are homegrown while 53% of the playing minutes being performed by players from the academy.

The youth of AZ practice at the same facilities, sharing the same clubhouse, but are always kept separate from the seniors but within touching distance, creating a boundary before the step up to senior level so players know it’s there and achievable, inspiring motivation to succeed.

The Philosophy

Winning is only a priority at senior level, from U23 and below through its youth system there are no expectations for winning, but players come with a desire and drive to win and compete. At U17 players are coached how to win, not be confused with must win, it’s a mindset that gets instilled in to the players on how to use their development to find success through results. The focus on development enables the club o work towards a club curriculum where the next game is not the priority, but the inclusion of all disciplines through all the Phases in We and They.

The curriculum is split in to blocks of 2 weeks, a periodized structure to where the player can receive all the knowledge and tools to become an all-round player to develop to their full potential. The macro cycle is for WE and THEY, a 2-week block. At the micro level the Phases are separated and worked on in the WE/THEY. The breakdown of a weeks training is as follows –

Monday – 2 hours, movement and skill acquisition, always under the pressure of opposition. Ending with a game.

Tuesday – 1 hour of athleticism, gym technique, exercise movement, 1 hour of soccer specific fitness.

Wednesday – skill acquisition, tactical SSG, work ration of 1:1.

Thursday – 11v11

Friday – Preparation for game – how to play defense and attack.

The players are encouraged to play to win without the importance of the result, creating a desire to perform through discipline, desire, and self-respect for the efforts put in by a player. How to win is important, and is what development is when giving the players the tools that are needed to perform, always a development approach. The proactive development pathway allows the player to work on their own game, reactive coaching is only within the game itself.

How to Create a High Performance Culture

Marijn Beuker

A key component of instilling a high performance culture is to think differently, be brave to believe in youth process.

There needs to be a buy in from all involved and with capable organization staff who are knowledgeable in the process and structure of the club’s long term development pathway. The vision needs to be clearly defined with an outline for all to follow, a pathway to a defined success, and understanding what is talent. Is talent nurtured or from nature? How can we bring out the best in the natural traits of the player through the nurturing of skill acquisition and game insight?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQoJqDi8490 let kids fail, allow them to fall and get up to learn from their mistakes.

Great reading source – The Gold Mine Effect

The culture of a club is important if you want the holistic long-term development approach. The environment needs to be one where everyone can thrive within the organization, where everyday people are working towards their defined goal, and the belief in the culture remains strong and is passed on to others.

The Culture


  1. Raise your bar
  2. Focus on the process
  3. Use the power of examples

Fun Task, Try It

Raise your hand in the air
Take a note of where your arm is raised to
Now try and reach higher
Get up on your toes, straighten your arm, and point your fingers
Naturally there is always more than what we can give at first, raise your bar

Look for Discomfort

FEAR. Face everything and respond. Work at your fears, challenge then and come out stronger.

‘do not handicap your children by making their lives easy’, Robert A Heinlein

Stimulate Creativity, Solution Focused Learning

Let them know the end outcome, allow them to create the path to get there. Implicit learning.


Get to know yourself and get to know the person across the table. Understand what motivates that person, learn what may hold them back and what enables them to work at their optimal level. Knowing and teaching others that being a good human will make you a good player. The All Blacks culture.

Be demanding, honest and direct, but make players believe they can be developed

AZ Youth Academy

Bart Heuringh

The AZ academy sees the development of players as more than just practices on the field, or the use of tactics within a game. The club philosophy and its principles is to see the bigger picture of the players journey, and the importance of all the different disciplines needed of a player. They also see learning differently, and aim to teach their players why to do things, rather than just the how.

The prevention of issues far outweighs the need to fix a problem. Education is the key to understanding and having people believe in your process.

‘it’s easier to build strong children than repair broken men’ Frederick Douglass

AZ have a learning system where you begin with motivation, using the opportunity to grab the attention of the player, then applying the knowledge. Firstly, find the motivation (wanting to be the best 1v1 player in attack) grab the attention through videos of idols and high performers (Cristiano Ronaldo dribbling a ball at defenders), then help and guide the players with the tools they need to be able to perform. This works great for difficult disciplines such as diet and sleep.


Do not train children to learning by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.” Plato



Vitesse Arnhem – A Club Visit

Vitesse Academy

The Club and Club Vision

Edwin Peterson

Ambition – best academy of Netherlands

Aim – international academy according to the new certification

To attain and achieve a clubs desired aims, it is important to improve the coaching this is an important factor. The coaches set standards and levels of performance, you can only be as good as your coaches. Overall, the improvement of the level of the players is key to a club.

To set up a pathway to achieving these goals an organization must analyze what exists, and find what needs to change/improve.

  • 4 fundamentals needed at every club
    1. Good players
    2. Good coaches (dedicated and passionate)
    3. Policies and structure
    4. Resources/facilities

The Vitesse Academy creates a tailor-made approach to each player, a player pathway for individual development and player accountability. The objective is to field players in to the first team, creating a platform to showcase their talents. Vitesse philosophy is that ‘Teams are important, but not most important’, players are important, they need to fail and learn. Teams don’t get debuts as first team and National players! The players need to be allowed to play, over coaching stifles creativity.

For Vitesse to grow they must become an attractive power, hold themselves to higher standards, and to make a connection to the top.

Performance Lab

Jan Van Nord and Tim Arends

Training Facility Set Up

  • Individual and specific performance report for players
  • Compare throughout the team, and game by game

The set up of the field shown with 10 cameras surrounding the perimeter, allows for greater accuracy in recording and monitoring a players date, with immediate feedback from pitch side rather than bouncing of satellites.


Performance lab allows coaches to get to know the player, this enables the already mentioned player pathway to be created. Important player features include football ability, mindset, physical performance, personal lifestyle, rehab and recovery. A player’s performance and rate of development can be hindered by any of the factors. A player could be experiencing emotional distress at home, or a loss in confidence.



Functional Movement Test

Specific training for the player dependent on test results. Red zones for certain injury concerns, i.e tight hips, player performs daily exercises at home to loosen the hips.

Periodization is subject to the amount of stress on the player through game frequency. A rest day will follow a match day, with adjustments in % of intensity throughout the week. A game week with a Friday fixture will enable a low intensity Wednesday, sessions that take place on these days may include recovery, game preparation, or psychological sessions.



Talent Identification

Bart von Rooijen

  • “Good is not good enough” there is always room for improvement.
  • “You don’t have to be ill to get better”, a proactive approach to individual development.

Vitesse have traits which they believe are needed in every player to be able to grow:

  • Proactive
    • Always looking to reach new levels without the push of outside influences. An intrinsic desire to be successful
  • Quick Learning
    • Is a player attentive and open to learning, a commitment to improvement.
  • Athleticism
    • Physical attributes and performance qualities.
  • Winner Mentality
    • The want to win at all cost, will go that step further than others for success.
  • Technical Players
    • An ability to player and perform soccer actions.
  • Own Character
    • They have that something that separates them from the crowd

Position specific understanding is not expected until the older ages.

Players are not part of the Vitesse academy until U8, and up to U10 they will practice twice a week with the club and coach. Once U11 they will practice 3 times a week, and this is for each older age group also.

U8 Player Identification Session

2 activities that challenge the players 1v1 capability.

Player 1 passes the ball to player 2. Player 2 must dribble around the goal to score. Player 1 attempts to win the ball back before player 2 can score.




As above, but player 2 must dribble though a yellow gate before scoring in any 1 of the 2 goals. The player may turn and attack the opposite side if the space is available.


Part 2 – European Education Tour 2017

Soccer Language

Soccer is a world wide sport, and while the culture in while lies may change, or the methodology in its coaching system may differ, the soccer language is consistent. The soccer language is a base for all that we do within the sport.


The sport never changes no matter where you are, the philosophy of soccer is something that cannot be argued. Soccer is attack (we have the ball), defend (they have the ball), and transition.

Within the philosophy of soccer there are phases in which the game is played, with these phases providing the basis for team tasks and player roles. These phases are commonly categorized as Phase’s 1, 2, 3, and 4, both being we and they, have the ball.

Vision of the soccer club should be evident through the execution of the soccer movements, within the framework of phases. Where and when on the field do you press the ball? How do you prevent penetration and creative actions from opposition? How does the team play to break down defensive opposition, and to then make goal scoring opportunities?

Your aims should be clear within the structure, do you play to win or focus on development? The kind of soccer played will indicate whether your aim is to win, or whether the club is focused on development.

Using the soccer language to construct and break down styles of play, as shown in the above diagram, the individual player profile can be created. From the moment within the game at which team functions can be defined, a teams task through its organization, will highlight the basic task as needed to be executed by the player.