Henrik Jensen - Player Development at FC Midtjylland
Yesterday we were joined by Henrik Jensen, Head Coach U19 at FC Midtjylland, to discuss their development plans and pathways for young professionals at the club. FC Midtjylland are unique in so many ways. They have built a reputation as a forward-thinking club in recent years with their approach to data and set pieces, led by extraordinary minds such as Matthew Benham and Rasmus Ankersen. As we see in Henrik's presentation, their approach to development is equally as innovative and unique. Not only do FC Midtjylland want young players to come into the first team, but they may end up selling them to one of the bigger leagues in Europe, so the dynamics are different than most clubs.
The major takeaway for me was how FC Midtjylland adjust their environment to teach accountability and commitment at the younger age groups. As coaches, we naturally veer towards our messages as a form of teaching, but that can become coach-led and diminish aspects such as player decision-making and potential independence. The fact that FC Midtjylland make their young players live with another athlete from a different sport so that they can see other athlete's levels of commitment, is so impressive for me personally, because this will create the situations that the player will have a better opportunity to learn for themselves. Their attitude to education is also a standout for me and the fact that they don't just use the word 'holistic' but have processes in place for how they want their players to think and act, is a great example to youth development programs.
You can watch the full presentation and interview below:
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