The youth today and yesterday, has had the same dilemmas, from an early age to choose between the school education studying or training for sports, between choosing playing with friends or focusing on their development of skills and talent, even sometimes to choose, being with friends and family or being by themselves to pursue their dreams of becoming a professional at this sport! So we as coaches in this field, need to take into consideration the wide range of mental decisions and issues a youth player faces every time he or she makes a decision to be at your practice and hence it’s important to guide and support them in multi-dimensions of their lives.

The ongoing sports training process has many fundamental objectives in the development of the youth, based on the four pillars of youth development namely the physical, co-ordination or motor skills, the cognitive and the psychosocial development. A balanced development does not happen in the natural process of life or in vacuum, it has to be attained via a properly designed training programme and well-defined youth development curricula.

I make this above statement based on my personal experiences of being a youth sportsperson (footballer) who was originally developed in India and later on lived, played and studied in USA and now living and working as a football coach in Portugal. There is a vast difference in youth development programmes in these three different countries as far as the youth sportspersons are concerned. One has to clarify that there are many youth sportspersons in developing countries like India in different sports that follow individually a very specific well-organised development programme earlier in their developmental years and you can observe that these individuals, who have trained in the proper modalities and have all the correct inputs on all levels from training to nutrition, will rise above the rest.

In my personal and professional opinion most the youth players coming from the tough neighborhoods, or the slums of India or the Favelas of Brazil, have all the core competitive components. Sometimes they lack the physical components due to improper or lack of nutrition or diet, however, if these youth players picked early and nurtured as the ones coming out of Africa or South America; they go on to become some of the world’s best at this sport. I feel that the hunger and drive will be the missing factor among the affluent kids as compared to the kids that come from tough circumstances, at the top competitive level.

However, having born in a lower middle income family myself in India during my earlier childhood and young adult life, I can say that the well-balanced diet, no structured training protocols, improper guidance, unplanned sports curricula as well as very badly executed physical education programme in school systems led to many deficits in my overall development as a footballer and athlete. Hence my recommendations about the training protocols with age appropriate guidelines with a total understanding of the youth development will have a sustained developmental growth on the individuals in that environment (country).

If we apply this above principle in footballers long-term development, we will see a sustained development in skills, techniques, and tactics, physical and mental development. Hence any sports training programme for youth has to have a well-defined objectives, so there is a balanced growth of all the players in the same direction. Any programme a club, or association or federation implements, as part of its coaching education process has to have all the modalities defined, including the ones, which will make the player complete in all the aspects of his adult life.

Over the last 35+ years learning this profession through different structured educational programmes and attending many coaching education seminars and practically living it day in and day out as a coach in youth amateur and professional environments, I have come to the realisation that it’s extremely important to have a consistent, well-organised philosophy with objectives, which is core to building quality players in that system.

Through my understanding of this game and acquiring the knowledge over the years, through countless examples of good programmes and some bad ones too, I have emulated to develop a system, which I use at my academy based in Portugal under the banner of International Football Academy de Portugal (IFAPT).

To be continued…


  1. Sir Elvis Goes,
    I am really impressed by your article, more so because you have not written just about football but about the development of LIVES. You are so passionate about moulding the children that this passion of guiding children will make your job 40% easier, for that I will say God bless you.

    Secondly Sir, what impressed me more is the sharing of your experiences in different countries that includes India. I being an Indian often used to wonder, why India is still behind when it comes to football. You have answered every question of mine without being asked. Sir, I feel God has chosen you for the right field. I am sure any boy that comes under you will definitely learn a lots not only about football but of about carrying himself forward in the right direction in life.

    Bless you, bless football at large


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