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.
Together with Atteveld, who heads the Elite Program, there are a number of Youth Academy who help develop the players according to the philosophy of the club. Boaz Bracha, Hamda Mari and Ori David along with the latest addition to the Academy, Michael Zandberg are all involved in the project.
Ori David explained the importance of the Elite Training Program at the Academy: “The project allows they youth players to reach their maximum in each of the areas of concentration whether it’s professional, physical mental. The coaches under the direction of Raymond Atteveld are bucking training programs with much thought in mind for each individual player in the project with the help of a full team of coaches and analysts.
Michael Zandberg also talked about the goals of the program: “I’m at the beginning of my career as a coach and I feel that this is a place I need to be to learn and improve. I’m sure with my experience I’ll be able to add to the program and help the young players. The Elite Training session are an enrichment for a specific player. Each player receives guidance in an area that they can’t get when they are training with the whole team and the attention given to the players by the coaches is unprecedented where they analyze each and every move. On a personal level it’s also an opportunity to learn and the players have the chance to do so from a number of coaches at one time on the pitch. I hope that I will also improve and develop as a coach so I can help the players much more.”
Hamda Mari discussed the importance of each and every bit of information the player receives: “The players learn many topics that will help them in an actual match. Techniques, offensive moves according to the philosophy of the club, proper defending and more. We work with every player on their weak points in order for them to improve and thereby also being more effective on the pitch with the team itself.”
The goal of the project is to develop the Academy players and help them improve but the coach also take many positives themselves from the project explain Boaz Bracha: “The Elite training sessions demand that the coaches understand each and every movement that the player makes and where they need to improve in the specific area. This will allow them to understand in the simplest form what they need to do so the instructions must be given over at the highest level. The goal is to make sure the player can make the proper adjustments and improve in the best way possible and in order to do that the training session must be player specific so they can then help their team.”