Karl, you asked for it; still agreeing with Graham and Jan and their article, “Players Path to Proficiency.” Every element they mention will improve a player to one degree or another.
But I will add that, for me, the most critical elements in building those players mentioned. I knew one of them very well, and possibly every major international star and significant % of pros around the world are these:
- Early childhood development starts when the kid leaves the crib with their ball at their feet, dribbling it wherever they go.
- Growing up in a futbol culture where they see, breath, eat and sleep futbol.
Both conspire to instill such love for the game leading the player to achieve what is known through empirical research as the 10 Year, 10,000 Hours Rule. When you do, the math is almost 3 hours per day of playing, training, and learning the game that you love.
And in this process, over the years, these players develop cardio-vascular interval stamina, with and sans air, which allows the heart rate to drop from total exertion to active rest in the shortest period, letting them go full-tilt boogie again in as little as 6-10 seconds.
And once you develop this stamina, it needs to be constantly maintained.
Welcome to the pro futbol.