FFA’s National Technical Director Eric Abrams - one of the panel of experts for the NAB Young Footballer of the Year this season - says good decision making is the difference between good and great players.
“What’s becoming very important for girls and boys is your skills are very important. Sometimes we have very skilful players but they have a lack of decision making,” he says.
“Both are linked with each other and these are the players I’m looking for. Of course if it’s also linked to a good mentality of a winner both on and off the pitch, so they do everything in order to improve and become a better player. Those are the types of young players I’m looking for.”
Decision making, says Abrams, is a difficult area to improve on for a player and one that can make a difference in the long-term prospects of young playes.
“It’s an interesting question but also a difficult one. It’s often the difference between the good players and the very good ones and excellent ones.
“Our youngest players we have to expose them to environments where there is a lot of decision making both for boys and girls. We have to provide a lot of game situations where it’s up to the player to make decisions.
“It’s not about manufacturing players. It’s not the coach who can make the decision, it can only improve if you expose your young players as much as possible in these situations.
“Really good decision making makes the difference between good, great and excellent players.”
This season the best of young players in both the Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League will be in with the chance of being crowned the next NAB Young Footballer of the Year.
Stats from Opta will be part of the conversation each week but the experts like Eric will have their own view. It will ensure there’s a feisty debate about the monthly awards.
“Stats are very interesting to a coach to give your players feedback and information but I think stats don’t say everything about a player.
“But we as judges look to the performance of players from a holistic point of view. In the total performance and sometimes a lot of things, you can’t put in stats. And this can be so important. A clever player can make space for his teammates by having a good run without being on the ball.
“These things you don’t see in stats. That’s why you need experts on the panel. If you only relied on stats, I don’t think you’d make good decisions on talented players.”