Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Talent Identification in Germany

This post is on the DFB's approach to scouting, talent identification and the six criterion used for this process.  It is effectively their equivalent of the 'four corner' model when working with young footballers.

The German FA use a mandatory range of criteria for initial review.  This takes into account that, although a player may fulfil such criteria now, it is by no means a guarantee or predictor of talent for the future.  Other factors such as maturation, social influences and other complex factors will inevitably present themselves over a number of years.  The first task is to identify a broad range of football playing children, those being the most 'talented'.  The following criteria is then used as a guide:

Criterion 1

  • Play and Game activity
    • Ability to identify many elements of surprise in the game
    • "Play along" in any situation - close to and far away from the ball
    • Rapid detection of the game situation
    • Advanced detection of situations (anticipation)
    • Fast switching
Criterion 2
  • Personality
    • Ownership
    • Self-confidence
    • Risk-taking
    • Positive body language
    • Help/motivating players - team orientation
    • Positive aggressiveness/assertiveness
    • Self-criticism and constant willingness to learn
    • Discipline/concentration
Criterion 3
  • Playing Versatility
    • Light and fluid motion
    • Agility: quick change of direction and skilful
    • Skilfully balancing the body/balance
    • Light-footed, and with variable movements on the ball
    • Game Overview - look for the situation
    • Creative problem solvers
Criterion 4
  • Basic Techniques
    • Both feet!
    • Safety on the ball - few turnovers even at speed and under pressure
    • High quality dribbling
    • Precise and variable passing over short/long distances
    • Variations of shooting on goal with accuracy
    • Positive in carrying the ball forward
    • Repertoire of feints
    • Head tennis/ball game
Criterion 5
  • Tactical Fundamentals
    • 1v1 Attacking - Positive, successful in keeping possession & "difficult to separate from the ball"
    • 1v1 Defensive - (position game to make it difficult/block opponents)
    • Breaking away from markers/opponents
    • Working together (awareness of time and space)
    • Good positional game sense
    • Variations in scoring
Criterion 6
  • Fitness/Physical Attributes
    • Response Speed (awareness/switched on)
    • Speed over various distances
    • Movement Skill
    • Intensive activity over sustained period (endurance)


  1. This is quite an interesting multi-dimensional approach to talent identification. Thank you very much for sharing it.

    Any idea of the age of the athletes that this process is targeting? And any idea of the time period over which this attributes are assessed?

    Thanks very much,

    Melissa Hopwood
    Lead Researcher
    Pathways to the Podium Research Project

  2. indeed, could you please share more info about it.
    Thank you

  3. Thanks Melissa and Daniel for your comments. Unfortunately, there are no specific age groups and time periods identified in the information I refer to in the blog. The DFB refer to 'young footballers' and I assume they are working to the Long Term Athlete Development Model.

  4. an idea would be just write an email to the dfb and ask... email at the end of the video.

    I think the big difference's from FA to DFB are:
    before England had the EPL football in England was a bit outdated or let's say not that much success(i know clubs from england had big success but this was until 1983.
    But ofcourse because of the international TV money the League could become the best. But not because of top coaching education, or great youth development but often because of foreign managers,players. Or think about Arsene Wenger i read he realy revolutionized something in England.

    So maybe that's why the FA could (translated on a website ;)
    to adorn oneself with borrowed plumes.
    Germany had always 'some' success Nationalteam, or also on Club level and the Bundesliga didnt had that many foreign managers.

    The DFL and DFB knew that the Bundesliga has 2 Big disadvantages against the EPL, 1 relatively low international tv money, 2. no Abramovich etc. allowed.
    So it was in the best interest of the Bundesliga and the clubs, to do something. But again still i think germany had a different starting point, because even before that germany had always more success with the NT. and germany had also before that a BIG number of youth coaches. -> they just needed an update and had to be used more efficient.

    Another big difference is the DFB is run by ex footballers, who have pro licence, have studied economics etc.
    And the FA is run by people who have maybe an MBA but never realy were big footballers.

    So summary money makes somehow lazy.
    How much money they spend for Wembley, or for capello, or how much money the League wastes on players, and still in debt.. and that high ticket prices, (and they have such an high international tv income).
    The PREM is a horrible run league. And somehow now with EPPP they do this because Glazer and John Henry etc. want to make profits and not to help the NT of England.

  5. have found some links.

    some of the links in german maybe try google translate.(the first2 in english)

  6. I'm not sure but there was a video where someone spoke about this criteriums for the u15.
    means 12-14y

    Think before it's about learning fundamentals.
    U15 is also the youngest nationalteam.