Over the past few years, the Maccabi Tel Aviv Avi Cohen Youth Academy has seen a dramatic change thanks to Performance Director Patrick van Leeuwen who introduced and imbued his football philosophy throughout the department. This season also saw the introduction of the Individual Elite Training program headed by Raymond Atteveld, van Leeuwen’s assistant, with the goal of developing the Academy’s players.

The Individual Elite Training program runs in conjunction with the regular training program and is designed to suit the individual needs of the players who are part of the project. The program includes additional resources for better living, video, physical and tactical sessions for individual players.

During the course of the week, the next week’s program is already being designed. Some are more individualized while other sessions can be with players at the same specific position or with players that they will play with in the future. The players are under the tutelage of Raymond Atteveld as well as the mental coach, fitness coach, video analyst, technical and tactical coaches who are tasked with working on all of these elements with the individual.

The experts meet prior to every training session in order to make sure that certain elements are worked on in order for the player to continue to improve. The staff lets the players and their coaches know what specific activities need to take place and why. The player receives the necessary information and specifics of where they need to improve while the coach also receives that same information so they can continue with their regular team training session as well.

Raymond Atteveld, the head of the program spoke about the idea behind the project: “In some cases the improvement is in small elements like how to move your foot when you are shooting or passing, or your body stature while defending. Other times it can be working on timing between players, so they would be together during the training session. The players receive plenty of information that will contribute to their progress.”

Atteveld summed up the project to date: “The project has begun well. We will make improvements in places where we feel that is needed but so far the project is very promising based on the players’ reactions and how they have applied it their game. Football is a team sport but personal attention contributes to the how the players think during the individual training plan and in specific elements of that training. At the end of the day the club will benefit from this program and they will gain a lot of knowledge about the game which will ultimately have a positive impact on the progress of the home grown players in the Academy.