Thu | Jun 20, 2024

‘It’s a player’s sport, not a coach’s sport’

New TDS programme boss John Wall wants focus on youth development

Published:Saturday | April 20, 2024 | 12:11 AMGregory Bryce/Gleaner Writer
John Wall conducts a training session with members of the Jamaica under-20 team at the Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence on February 17.
John Wall conducts a training session with members of the Jamaica under-20 team at the Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence on February 17.

REGGAE BOYZ assistant coach John Wall said coaches should place more focus on personal development for youth players instead of on game results. He said players should be encouraged to learn from their mistakes as they master football’s fundamentals.

He made the comments after a press conference held at the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) headquarters on Thursday.

Wall was announced as the head of Jamaica’s Talent Development Scheme (TDS) programme in collaboration with FIFA.

The TDS programme is aimed at increasing Jamaica’s global competitiveness. It seeks to identify and develop players from 12 to 16 years old.

According to Wall, there is too much focus on winning competitions at the youth level, which does not give players the opportunity to learn from their mistakes at a young age.

“I think most competitions in Jamaica have been driven by results and not by development reasons,” he said. “It doesn’t mean in itself that you shouldn’t have a drive to win. I’m not taking that away at all, but what are the choices being made within the context for the under-12, under-13 or under-14 competitions?

“For me, we need to equip coaches so that they’re allowing players to make mistakes, so they can actually develop from that instead of being told exactly what to do. It’s a player’s sport, not a coach’s sport.”

He hopes that as players learn from their mistakes, they will be able to become more competitive on the global stage.

He pointed to the example set by football countries with a similar population size to Jamaica’s and how they develop their young players for their national programme.

Wall explained it is now the JFF’s duty to ensure it can find an appropriate programme to boost youth development across all parishes.

“What Northern Ireland did is they play their under-15 national team in the under-17 league. Size wise, they are pretty much similar to Jamaica in terms of inhabitants, but all of a sudden, they started to sell a lot more players to the Premier League.

“It is not going to be a one-size fits all. I think if it fits Jamaica within its proximity, then you need to connect to the west, you need to connect to the east, you need to connect to the centre. So it cannot just be just a Kingston thing but everyone should act under the same umbrella.”

gregory.bryce@gleanerjm.com