The field house was a busy place this weekend as the Saskatchewan Soccer Association held their provincial team program where over 150 identified players from all over the province were invited here to train. There were eight teams of boys and girls between the four different categories at the program.
This program is in part with the long term player development program, which has different levels that the athletes are at, including four different age levels. Those four age groups are then divided into different training levels, including the Training to Train Year 1 (under 13), Training to Train Year 2 (under 14), Training to Compete Year 1 (under 15-16) and Training to Compete Year 2 (16-17 years old).
“They are down for a training weekend,” said Joan Nash, Technical Sports Administrator with the Saskatchewan Soccer Association. “They are doing training at the high performance level above the club level to get them ready for other (training) events.”
The program is to work on individual and team development skills to help the athletes learn skills they wouldn’t necessarily learn at the club level.
“It is more of a high performance program than a local club level,” stated Nash. “There are higher demands regarding technical and tactical skills on the field, being psychologically prepared to being able to train and play at a higher level and learning to play with new players from around the province.”
There was an identification open tryout camp in December in Saskatoon where athletes registered to attend. Those athletes were then identified into the different categories.
Depending on the age group, the difficulty in what is being taught will be different. In the younger age groups, they were focusing on the technical development skills, including individual ball skills. When the athletes move up into the older groups, they play more of the full field strategy and tactical skills.
“As you move up, you work a little bit more on the tactical,” said Nash. “The emphasis of the program is player development…trying to prepare the kids to go as far as they can. We are just introducing them to high performance soccer.”
For more on this story, read a future edition of the Times-Herald.