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New Research: The Player Development Project Environment

The environment surrounding the player must be understood to ensure we help players achieve their potential. PDP Lead Researcher and PhD candidate, James Vaughan discusses the holistic view of player development that the PDP team has been working on as a result of over two years of conversations, interviews, research and experience.


Ruben Jongkind is the former Head of Talent Development at Ajax and now works for Cruyff Football. He and Johan Cruyff worked together to implement ‘Plan Cruyff’ at Ajax between 2011 and 2013. When asked about creating a culture of learning and development (at the 2016 Conference for Applied Psychology in Football) Jongkind gave three key points that resonate with some of the most recent research in player development.

  1. The player development environment is much more complex than we recognise.
  2. We need to understand both macro factors and micro factors.
  3. In the future people will pay attention to each other as open systems.

This article introduces a view of player development that not only incorporates the practical wisdom of Jongkind and Cruyff, but is also...

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