Player Development Plan (PDP) & Visual Psychology

In everyday life we all have to set goals.  We set targets to achieve results.  It can vary from improving our business to increasing sales in our job or simply using behaviour charts for children!  I remember working in a Travel Agent where there was a white board displayed with everyone's name written on it.  Your total number of sales was written alongside your colleagues.  The month started on zero.  If you made a booking for a family of five & a group booking for 20 you shot up to 25 while your colleagues lagged behind.  It was a nice feeling, but if it was the other way around it made you work harder to improve your performance & reach your goal, especially if there was a reward at the end of it.

Surround yourself with positive visual psychology!

Surround yourself with positive visual psychology!

Football is no different.  All my 1-on-1 students keep a Player Development Plan (PDP).  I also provide a folder with a lot of advice included in it for them.  We then set a plan & goals for them to achieve.

You can make it as simple as you want, write it out by hand or complete online & print it out.  The main topics you should cover include:

  • player's name
  • month / year
  • strengths / weaknesses
  • what I need to improve on
  • how to improve
  • targets
  • short-term goal
  • medium-term goal
  • long-term goal
  • signature

It is important that the player himself completes the PDP, but assist & guide them.  If they have weaknesses, set targets for improvement in that area.  Set relevant homework.

You can see from the examples below, how one of my players has completed his PDPs.

One of Luke's early Player Development Plans...

One of Luke's early Player Development Plans...

You can see his strengths & what he feels he needs to work on.  We then focus on this during our 1-on-1 sessions, but also set homework so he can be working on this away from the sessions.

He also sets his long term-term goal.  This can be anything from playing for a top club to playing for your country, or both!  This is the dream, the goal to aim for.  The important thing is also to set short to medium-term goals so each individual can see, feel & touch success.  Ensure the short-term goals are achievable & realistic.  In this example, he has set a target to score 4 goals & set up 8 goals over the month.  Obviously, the number of games he plays & his position on the team will affect this.  You have to remind the player that he may put in several terrific crosses or through balls but, even if the forward doesn't score, it is no reflection on his own creativity.

I also like my players to have their PDP placed on the wall so they see their targets first thing in the morning & last thing at night.  I am also a firm believer in surrounding yourself with positive images & memories.

I have my coaching certificates on the wall, my last book cover blown up & framed along with images & newspapers clippings framed.  It's not to stoke my ego but simply to surround myself with positive memories.  Then if I have a bad day I can remind myself of what I have already achieved.

This is why I ask my players to display their medals, trophies & images in their room.  This is called Visual Psychology - surrounding yourself with a positive image - just like the image above.

If they have a bad game or disappointing news I ask them to go to their room & take 10-15 minutes, looking around them & reading through their PDP to see how far they have developed.

One of my players came home very upset after a game.  Yet, a short time away on his own, around his positive memories & reading his PDP really helped & completely changed that.

Comparing the same player's PDP from December 2009 to March 2011 you will see new strengths added, less evidence of weaknesses in his game & his keepie-ups go from his early target of 37 - 38 to being able to do 100!  In the same folder, we also have invitations to the National County Excellence meetings & report cards.  Also details on his performance with his club & attendance at the Liverpool Academy.

Player Development Plans work - have your child or players keep a record & goal set from today!

Comparison of PDP from December 2009 to March 2011 - look at the improvement!

Comparison of PDP from December 2009 to March 2011 - look at the improvement!