One of the world’s leading experts in speed and movement says that the lack of focus of athleticism in the FFA national curriculum means that young footballers in Australia are lacking the basic fundamentals of speed and strength.
Ranell Hobson, 43, is the training director of the Academy of Sport, Speed and Agility in Sydney which specialises in sprint mechanics for explosive sports speed for athletes in the 9-17 year old age group.
Much discussion has centred on youth development in Australia due to the Olyroos failure to qualify for Rio 2016 and Hobson who has dedicated her life to learning and studying efficiency and speed believes that the lack of stretching and mobility programs for young footballers is having an effect on Australia’s national teams.
“It’s just setting them up for chronic long term injuries,” she said.
“Because of that we got these young kids playing football that are really talented but we are destroying them by the time they are 15 and 16. So we’ve got a much smaller pool of athletes to choose from when we get to our under-23 and our senior National squad.”
The former sprinter also believes that the focus away from teaching the physical side of the game to young players has also been detrimental to the progress of Australian football.
“We used to have such a strong athletic culture in football in this country,” Hobson said.
“But at one point in time they decided that we didn’t have the skill to compete at the world stage and instead of adding more skill and football culture into the development into our players they dropped the athleticism altogether and now the curriculum has just focused on football and nothing else.
“One of the fundamental flaws in the curriculum is that there is no isolated training. The coaches aren’t trained within that training environment on how to correct or modify players when they do have inefficient movement techniques or if they see a player that they expect to be explosive but their bobbing up and down on the spot.
Hobson added, “It’s mentioned in the curriculum that a requirement is explosiveness but the coaches unfortunately don’t actually have the knowledge to teach that.
“They refer to fitness and running efficiency being able to be developed through playing the game of football. But our research from 2001 and the continuing research since then has shown that you can’t develop speed, you can’t develop change of direction and you can’t develop player efficiency just by playing a sport itself. “
Hobson was recently invited by EPL club Arsenal, Crystal Palace and Leicester to conduct speed and change of direction workshops for their Youth Academy Coaches.
The experience in the UK and working with an English Premier League club like the Gunners was an eye opener for Hobson.
Getting to seeing how they train their young players up close was an insight into their methods.
“Arsenal teaches them the correct technique for their sport and then brings in the weight training at an earlier age,” she said.
“They have their under-10’s learning Olympic lifting techniques with a wooden bar but they are teaching them techniques at that age so that when they get to 12 and 13 they can start lifting correctly. Big compound movements that lift the whole body at once, not training like body builders they are training like athletes from 12 and 13.”2 comments