This weeks article is based around an interview with Jimmy Petruzzi, former professional player and founder of the Jimmy Petruzzi Soccer Academy (www.petruzzisocceracademy.com) which has produced many top professional soccer players.
Q1/ Jim, you work a lot with up and coming professional footballers: Give us 3 major qualities needed for a young player to make the grade...
A1/ Based on my experience it helps if the player has good family support but I think 3 qualities in making the grade are natural ability (vision, speed , genetic ability, be able to perform to the demands of football) dedication, the ability to listen and absorb information and make the most of their ability.
Q2/ Many players have gone through your academy and become top level stars, can you name one essential quality they all had in common ?
A2/ One quality all the players have in common who have come through is a strong self belief in their own ability.
Q3/ When assessing younger players, does physical ability play a part in your selection policy or is it something that you feel will be developed naturally by the player later on...?
A3/ This depends on the players age whether physical ability comes into it. For players are below 12 or 13 years of age no it doesn't. If they are are 15 and above physical fitness plays a major part, i.e. we carry out tests of VO2 Max, vertical jump, etc though I do believe it can be developed by a player later on if they are young though. However, once they get into late teens physical ability can be developed though it can be difficult as some players like in many other sports, haven't got the genetics to meet the physical demands of top flight soccer.
Q4/ Your Academy trains players to become professional footballers, do you include any mental training in their personal development ?
A4/ I do include mental training. I think mental training is half the battle plus if you can't do it in your head you can't do it on the field !
Q5/ As a fitness expert, from what age do you feel specific fitness training is required by younger players ?
A5/I personally would bring in specific fitness training for younger soccer players at 15 to 16 years of age...
Q6/ You have a masters degree in sport science, do you think that having a qualification in sports science is an essential part of a modern fitness coaches knowledge ?
For sure, if you look at all the countries and teams doing well they've
implemented highly qualified people who understand fitness and can get
the most from players. I think the knowledge you gain from studying is
crucial in implementing training for players as it gives you an understanding
of the individuality of players and how to get the best out of them. It
is also important that the professional continues their personal education
and keeps up with modern day training ideas.
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