Is it possible for young players to take 10,000 touches a day to improve their ball mastery? Jon Townsend analyses the Dutch theory that could develop technical ability at all levels.
In the summer of 2001, I was fortunate enough to train in Holland for close to 16 weeks, playing with a local team from Enschede in friendlies and tournaments. I saw how young Dutch players trained, prepared and learned the game.
One morning, after playing a few hours of street football, I rode my bike to FC Twente’s brand new training ground in Hengelo hoping to see the first team train. What I found was the club’s youngsters, aged eight or nine, assembling on a small pitch just outside the main training fences corralled by a team of coaches all holding clicking hand counters.