The fall/winter Lakehill Technical Academy is a supplemental club program that is run by Lakehill’s technical staff coaches. The players that take part in this program are invite-only, as identified by the club’s technical staff using the “ABCD-123” ‘assessment criteria’. Players in this program are deemed to be especially dedicated soccer players, who show a commitment to the sport and a strong desire to improve. When placed with their peers in the academy they must be considered to be at their "appropriate level" - which means they will experience an equivalent balance of both successes and challenges. While the club strives to accommodate all players interested in improving their all-around soccer ability, it is important to note that this is not possible due to logistical constraints such as limited coaches and field space. Anybody interested in attending the academy can contact the Technical Director.
The academy is an opportunity for the Lakehill players that have shown dedication and proficiency to come together in a like-minded environment. Our aim is to promote a positive connection with the sport, and while having fun is emphasised and a sheer enjoyment of the game is necessary, we do stress the importance of a focused attitude from all of the attendees. We encourage sportsmanship, responsibility and attentiveness in all players, and participants who do not strive to display these traits may be temporarily uninvited from the academy until they are able to prove they are capable of doing so.
In alignment with the Canada Soccer Association 'Long Term Player Development'(LTPD) model, technical ability (primarily dribbling and "touches on the ball") - and specifically its development - is prioritised in the academy's curriculum. We also aim recreate a "street soccer" environment, encouraging a love for the ball and the game itself, with its freedom and creativity. Due to the side-to-side and unpredictable movements associated with dribbling, it is a great tool in the development of not only close ball control, but physical literacy (agility, balance and control) as well. Technical proficiency also increases creativity, spontaneity, composure and confidence; all of which are key components in a player's repertoire as they progress. Passing is an essential part of the game of soccer and is gradually implemented, but dribbling and touches on the ball at the younger ages helps to lay the foundation for many essential skill-sets.
The academy is run by Lakehill’s technical staff coaches, and lead by the technical director. Any parent coach wishing to attend and/or observe the coaching at the Technical Academy is welcome to do so, however, if a parent coach wishes to partake in the actual coaching then they must be willing to fully adhere to the technical staff’s principles and methods.
We greatly appreciate the support and encouragement that the Lakehill parents give to their children, however, all parents and spectators are requested to refrain from any coaching on the sidelines during practices or games. "Coaching" refers to any comments aimed at the players instructing them what to do, commenting on what they did, or on what they could/should have done.
Additionally, as per club policy, parents are not allowed on the field during practices or games. During the practices and games there will be times where the coaches give extensive information to the players regarding both technical and tactical details, and there will also be times where the coaches say very little and allow the players to experiment and solve problems themselves in order to enhance their cognitive development. Constantly telling the players with the ball what to do, or "remote controlling" is strongly discouraged at our club.
This program will also help the club to identify and nurture serious, motivated, talented young players as they continue to develop. Players will be eligible to play for Lakehill select teams in exhibition games and tournaments whenever the opportunity arises – especially in the U8-U10 age groups. As with everything else in the academy, these games are purely for developmental purposes, and the score/result of the game is not prioritised by the coaches, as the performance of our players is more important in the long term. Again, parents are discouraged from "coaching" the players during these games.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why is the academy not open to all players?
The academy has a limit of time, space and coaching staff, and the club cannot accommodate all of the children who wish to participate. Players in the academy must also be able to keep up technically and tactically with the other players, as they must experience a balance of successes and challenges to properly develop - this is referred to as their "appropriate level". This is especially necessary to ensure that everybody is sufficiently motivated, seeing as less experienced players need more success so as not to lose confidence, whereas more experienced players need a certain degree of challenge
s to remain engaged.
Are there tryouts for the academy?
Players are "trying out" for the academy all the time, they just aren't aware of it. Staff coaches observe games and practices on a regular basis to evaluate players based on Lakehill's ABCD-123 assessment criteria. This way we are able to see the players very often - both in short spaces of time as well as over longer periods - without the associated stress or anxiety of formal tryouts. The door is always open to new players joining the academy, and players are invited at all times throughout the year - and at all ages - as players develop at different rates.
What does my child need to do in order to be considered for the academy?
As well as playing at the field in team sessions, it is vital that players practise on their own time as well - at home, in school, at the park, with friends, siblings, parents - it doesn't matter who so much as that they do - and that they especially work on dribbling and close control of the ball. This is an essential method of 'deliberate practise', as well as the 'free play' that will come with it. Players can also look into supplementary academies for additional training, and you can contact the club to discuss which options may be best for your child(ren).