Let the Kids Play: Amiens Aim for Sustainability through Academy

Without the big bud­get of the teams above them, Ligue 1 new­com­ers Amiens believe their best shot of stay­ing in the big time is devel­op­ing their own home­grown play­ers. Video is prov­ing cen­tral to Amiens’ brand-new acad­e­my project.

In 2017, eight of the top 25 clubs who pro­duced the most home­grown play­ers in Europe came from France. Mid-table teams like Toulouse, Rennes and Nantes are just as pro­lif­ic as the likes of Chelsea and Bayern Munich in con­vert­ing youth into first-team stars.

These are the clubs Amiens seek to emu­late, and acad­e­my coach John Devignon was quick to high­light that video is a key com­po­nent in his club’s new strate­gic direction.

We under­stood that mov­ing up to Ligue 1 was a turn­ing point, and with our new acad­e­my project we are real­ly refo­cus­ing on play­er infor­ma­tion. So video meets per­fect­ly with this objec­tive,” Devignon said.

We want to refo­cus our train­ing on the indi­vid­ual devel­op­ment of play­ers and so our goal is to bet­ter observe each oth­er to under­stand our performance.”

Amiens video ana­lyst Ludovic Ancher — who is behind the tech­ni­cal aspects of the acad­e­my — gives his insight on how he approach­es his analy­sis with youth players.

I focus on the major themes of the game: play­mak­ing, defend­ing, and posi­tion­ing,” Ancher said.

For this, I code live dur­ing train­ing with Sportscode using spe­cif­ic code win­dows focused on each aspect of the game. For exam­ple, the num­ber of blocks a defend­er makes, or how many pass­es a mid­field­er plays in each direction.

This way the idea is to focus on each posi­tion to per­son­alise our analy­sis, so that every play­er feels more involved.”

Ancher is pleased by how fast the young play­ers at Amiens have been pick­ing up the new tech­nol­o­gy and are buy­ing into the idea of self-learning.

After train­ing, we group play­ers posi­tion­al­ly and ask them to pro­duce a playlist of clips rel­e­vant to their role on the pitch,” Ancher said.

Initially the play­ers were not so selec­tive about their clip selec­tion, sim­ply see­ing it as anoth­er part of train­ing, but as time went by we saw boys focus on the demands of the coach and the clips became more relevant.

Professionally we are chang­ing the player’s outlook.”

After just one year, the acad­e­my is already reap­ing rewards. 18-year-old mid­field­er Gaoussou Traore is the first grad­u­ate to fea­ture in the first team, earn­ing a place in the start­ing line­up for the sea­son open­er against Ligue 1 pow­er­house Olympique Lyonnais.

Academy ana­lyst Matthieu Godefroy knows video is push­ing his project in the right direction.

My first job with the acad­e­my was to define what we would do and how were we going to do it,” said Godefroy.

We decid­ed a key com­po­nent to our goal of youth devel­op­ment is to use video media, to enable a quick­er and more visu­al learn­ing of prin­ci­ples of the game project. To have play­ers not only inte­grate the the­o­ret­i­cal aspect of the game, but also to under­stand its prac­ti­cal imple­men­ta­tion on the field.

We are in a train­ing cen­tre. The end goal is to cre­ate pro­fes­sion­al play­ers. At first they hes­i­tate a lit­tle, but this is a video gen­er­a­tion and they con­sume videos day-to-day on social media, on YouTube, in their per­son­al lives already.

Here they become the actors.”

To learn more about how Hudl uses ana­lyt­ics to fuel the mod­ern game, you can sign up to one of our online class­es or check out our pro­fes­sion­al foot­ball case stud­ies from Germany’s SC Paderborn 07 and La Liga club Deportivo Alaves.