Whether a boy athlete or a girl, every individual sportsperson enjoys a special relationship with his/her coach depending upon the exposure introduced by the coach to the athlete. This relationship allows the young athlete to explore his coach and understand his behaviours and moods as mutual understanding is essential in order to maintain a healthy coach-athlete association. Talent development is more vital than building sports ability levels. Expert coaches know when to push players and when to reduce the intensity of training and their expectations. However, no real evidence has been established to guide the coach or the athlete on how far they should push a young player towards attaining appropriate level of intensity.
Moreover, the tolerance levels and subsequent benefit to individual young players may require individual attention (e.g. physiological and psychological requirements). In this sense coaches tend to be reliant on personal craft knowledge and experience. Moderation of effort and potential 'drop out' may occur if harmony does not exist between coach and player. Some effort should be made to prevent this loss of talent by encouraging the player to gradually return to systematic training. The coach-athlete relationship is based on shared interests in accomplishing a task rather than on a personal or emotional issue. However it is the potential impact of the coach on the child's socialisation, development and progression that leads him towards success.
There is no doubt that Soccer Academy has played a vital role in the development of young talent (Franks et al., 1999) and it would not be wrong to say that the Academy so far hires the leading coaches and trainers for the young athletes. Soccer Academy coaches' and management both appreciates that identifying young talented soccer players at an early stage and exposing talented players to specialised coaching and training accelerates and enhances the talent development process (Williams et al., 1999). The primary objective of the Academy is to groom the players towards success on the playing field. In this sense, success is inextricably linked with sound management, effective coaching, appropriate facilities and support mechanisms and, fundamentally, good quality players. The nature and function of elite youth player development are captured in this essay through highlighting the effectiveness of coach-athlete relationship. More specifically, by drawing on examples of good practice, some fundamental mechanisms and requirements of a successful coach are outlined.
The more humanistic concepts of development emphasise a more caring and nurturing environment in which coach and athletes are encouraged to groom in a friendly environment. The elements of the athlete developmental process not only provide opportunities for soccer career, but also facilitate the production of a more intelligent player. The production of an intelligent player can provide 'added value' to an increasingly valuable commodity (e.g. an understanding of lifestyle management, self-awareness, an ability to respond to complex tactics and coach relations) (Richardson, 1999). Although no real evidence exists as to how this added value is realised within individual