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First steps, Training Manual

Publié le 19 mars 2004 à 12:12

The OL did not have to be crowned French Champion to inspire a multitude of short-trousered players dreaming of joining the ranks of its formation centre... "The club offers a guarantee of formation, which is due to its prestige but also, mainly, to its experience, the quality of its set-up, its welcoming nature and also the courses it offers" comments Alain Olio, the head of the formation centre...





Schooling





After a normal cursus at the Saint-Louis-Saint-Bruno college, the OL youngsters attend their college years at the Faÿs establishment, in Villeurbanne, in classes gathering the top level sportsmen of the Rhone-Alpes area. "We especially impart onto them a culture of discipline and self-improvement" explains Robert Béroud, the Head of teaching at the OL. The system looks finely honed, nowadays, with secondary studies spread out over four years instead of three: "With seven training sessions per week, this schedule is essential. When they get to sit the Baccalauréat exams, they must have the same level as the others ". If they can follow the traditional cursus (Science, Literature, Economics, Social Sciences, and Technology), the players also have the possibility to study for a VAM (Sales - Commercial) BEP degree at the Louise Labbé lycée. Explains Robert Béroud: "Once, the personality of a player and his education did not matter, but the OL understood very quickly that you can't separate someone from his personality and that one is on the pitch as one is in life."





First steps in the Pros



Before supporting the pros in the conquest of their objectives, the OL youngsters daily mingle with them at Tola Vologe, the training centre. "Last year, under the terms of Paul Le Guen's policy, the mix between the CFA crop and the professional team was extensively practised. It is a chance for the youngsters to find themselves between the same walls as the pros. To interact with them, to see them in practice, this is important. This is a great motivator and is worth any speech", explains Alain Olio, the Head of training at Lyon.



If the young Lyon footballers train with the likes of Juninho, Luyindula, Dhorasoo and Coupet, they play almost exclusively in the anteroom of League 1: in CFA. This is an important stage, but it is never wise to remain there for too long: "Our concern is as follows. We know that for some of our youngsters, spending a whole year in CFA is worthwhile, but they have to get to a higher stage the next year." Which accounts for the loans to other clubs policy.



Faced with competition and pressure, the OL trained youngsters need to maintain a solid psychological balance. "This factor is, indeed, an integral part of success at professional level", Alain Olio confirms.





Recruitment



More than ever, the OL pays special attention to its amateur recruitment policy. "As soon as a player gets to 14 years of age, we start to work out how he can repay us later and what it would cost us if he weren't trained on our premises", explains Alain Olio. It is however difficult to gauge, so early in his life, the sporting -but also psychological- evolution of a child or a teenager. To help each youngster reach his highest level, the club spares no expense, and imposes daily training sessions as soon as the player reaches his fourteenth year. "The main qualities of a great player are speed, endurance and playing intelligence. But today, it is the psychological aspect which makes the difference, and so we pay special attention to it". The recipe seems to be working: the OL has been the best French club for formation for the last 10 years (13 titles).



Translated by L. Thivend



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