Talent recognition

AZ Alkmaar

About the Club

Club: AZ Alkmaar
League: Eredivisie
Founded: 10 May 1967
Stadium: AFAS Stadium

Challenge

Invest into the best

Professional sports organizations are generally good up to very good at helping individual talents in developing skills and gaining game knowledge. For this purpose, clubs and federations invest in coaches, trainers, supervisors, facilities and the science behind performance. The question is: in which players do you invest these precious, scarce resources to achieve the best results out of your youth education?

Approach

Talent identification based on brain skills – adding science to your intuition

In addition to technical, motor, tactical, physical and motivational abilities, a top player should also have the brain that can meet the demands of top football. Since 2013, BrainsFirst has been measuring the brain capabilities of the entire club at AZ Alkmaar. “With the new budget, the club knew: we cannot compete in the transfer market with the traditional top clubs,” – Paul Brandenburg, head of the academy at AZ Alkmaar since 2015 – “Every year we organise a football school in cooperation with amateur clubs in the region. During this preselection process, about a hundred talented young players will participate in trainings and tournaments. We also do tests to make a good assessment of the cognitive abilities and the learning capacity of the players. This way we get a complete overview of a player and can we estimate pretty well which players have the highest potentioal of succeeding within the AZ Youth academy. “

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