You often hear stories about certain events or circumstances that change a person's life, well for me it was a visit to Clairefontaine (French National Training Centre) in 2006. As well as personal interviews with Aime Jacquet and other French youth technical coaches, I was guided through the age specific developmental training curriculum. The message was very simple:
"an individual players technique (or technical ability) is the most important developmental element".
Gerard Houllier took it one step further when he suggested that if a player at 16 years of age didn't have a satisfactory technique, there was no way of ever catching up.
In recent years, my research and knowledge of the Dutch and Spanish youth developmental approaches has further helped me to understand the importance of providing a specific environment conducive to advancing a youth footballers technical ability.