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Training methodology, (individual) Skills training, coordination and management Skills phase, Dutch- English-Spanish


As Technical Manager Skills Phase at AFC Ajax Amsterdam (July 2011-June 2015), Michel reformed the philosophy and training methodology for the age groups U8-U12 within the academy.

Inspired by the ideas of Johan Cruyff, technical skills training was reinstated as the primary focus of the U8-U12 training programme. Combining the main principles of the Coerver method with modern learning styles (‘Coerver 2.0’), the Ajax academy players were challenged to master the ball, dominate the 1v1 situations and, above all, explore and utilize their full creative potential.

Michel brought into practice the spoken ideals of Johan Cruyff and Wim Jonk; “the culture of street football must be implemented in the academy”. He integrated street football principles into the Skills phase programme, introducing more player freedom and responsibility, small-sided games, training on different surfaces, etc.

Michel also co-initiated and managed the roll-out of the Plan Cruyff agenda to improve Dutch youth football, by promoting the revival of street soccer (principles) and introducing the “Twin Games” concept as a solution for the youngest age groups to play on much smaller pitches. Initially a pilot project in Amsterdam, this concept has quickly spread across the Netherlands. After two years of pilot competitions, restricted to Dutch professional clubs, the concept has now been officially adopted by the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) as an integral part of its Master Plan to reform Dutch (youth) football. Starting in the 2017-2018 season, all Dutch players aged 6 to 12 will play on significantly smaller pitches, including at grassroots level.

Working within the Talent Development Department between July and December 2015, Michel implemented his knowledge across the entire Ajax academy, with football methodology as his main focus. Prior to his work at Ajax, Michel held a number of roles as technical skills trainer for NAC Breda and FC Utrecht (The Netherlands) and CSKA Moscow in Russia