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Workshop with Jonker

Closer ties for pro coaches and junior team

The 39 leather seats in the Säbener Strasse performance centre auditorium were almost all taken, but this was no match or training analysis session for Mark van Bommel, Philipp Lahm & Co. Wednesday’s audience was the assembled Bayern Munich youth coaching staff.

The speaker at the lectern was Louis van Gaal’s assistant Andries Jonker, who examined the tactics and strategies used by the senior pros. “I pointed out that every person, culture and team develops its own identity and philosophy,” Jonker informed, “those of us from the Netherlands have our own vision of how football should be played, and Louis van Gaal has his own special version of that.”

“Especially with younger players, the ball has to be at the centre of every exercise,” Jonker continued. Fun and enjoyment are also an essential part of the package. “The players must enjoy coming to training and want to play their football,” said the 47-year-old. “And we believe they have to be passionate too. You have to want to win.”

Age-specific training

Youth coaches need to be highly conscious of the specific level their players have reached. “The most important thing is age-specific training,” said FCB junior team director Werner Kern, “how developed are the players’ physical and mental skills? Every youth coach has to bear that in mind.” Jonker went on to demonstrate the theory in practice with a series of drills on the training ground, first with the club’s U-13 squad and then with the U-17 youths.