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Page last updated at 16:54 GMT, Saturday, 20 June 2009 17:54 UK

Levein plans a youth revolution

By Jim Spence

Craig Levein
Craig Levein has promised a coaching revolution at Tannadice

A coaching revolution has been promised at Dundee United under the stewardship of manager Craig Levein.

Ian Cathro, aged just 22, has been appointed to the youth coaching staff at Tannadice and afforded the task of educating and developing new talent.

Cathro said: "We've got to ensure that up until age 13, kids are gaining as much technical input as possible.

"It's all about change in approach and a change in culture - of the way we want to develop players."

Levein is aiming to develop a long-term plan to produce first-team players from United's youth squad by introducing a revolutionary system that encourages talent from an early age.

Cathro has been operating a Dundee-based coaching clinic that focuses on the technical aspects of football at an age when children are more likely to accept and retain the skills necessary to become professional players.

Society is very different now and things need to move forward and embrace new ways for players to work

Dundee United head of youth coaching Ian Cathro

Levein approached Cathro with a view to securing his services in a football 'educating' coaching role at Tannadice after seeing results in one of his clinics.

"It's about understanding the type of development that kids need at certain ages - and the types of approach that will relate to progressing those stages," said Cathro.

"We're looking at the window of development where the kids are more receptive to skill acquisition.

"Everything starts in isolation and kids need to understand a variety of different ways to manipulate the ball.

"Beyond the window of time up to about age 13, you can still make progress but it's limited.

Cathro insists that the old methods of coaching players need to be scrutinised and the teaching of technical skills to youth players is more important than simply focusing on fitness and competence.

"Society is very different now and things need to move forward and embrace new ways for players to work," he said.

"We've got to give the players the technical tools that will allow them to solve problems.

"There's a lot of detail missing to what we do at present - I question whether there's an objective related to that.

"Kids need to leave us better than when they arrive and my experience of watching sessions says that's a question that needs to be raised, instead of just facilitating activity for kids."

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see also
Levein signs on with title dream
02 Dec 08 |  Dundee Utd
Six SPL managers invited to forum
14 Nov 08 |  Scottish Premier
United aim for coaching revolution
20 Jun 09 |  Scotland

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