Title:
METHOD FOR IDENTIFYING AND INSTRUCTING TOP LEVEL ATHLETES
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method and system is provided for screening and identifying athletes that have the highest potential within their chosen sport and providing a training and development environment for these athletes at the elite and super elite level of their respective sport. The system employs a nine part integrated system that is structured in a manner that assists in identifying those player that are the most able to benefit from intensive training to move them from a top-level athlete to an elite athlete. The steps generally include prescreening, athlete selection, pre-training/preparation, intensive training, progress monitoring, player family support and communication, cultural exposure, professional career placement and post career support and counseling. In this context, a comprehensive approach is provided for identifying talented athletes and providing a training and development environment for these athletes.



Inventors:
Gluck, Adrian (Beverly Hills, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/132672
Publication Date:
12/11/2008
Filing Date:
06/04/2008
Assignee:
United States Football Club, LLC. (Encito, CA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/00
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Primary Examiner:
FRISBY, KESHA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BARLOW, JOSEPHS & HOLMES, LTD. (PROVIDENCE, RI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A structured program for identification and training top-level athletes in their respective sport comprising: prescreening a plurality of athlete candidates for participation in the program; rigorously screening the plurality of athlete candidates to determine and select those suited for participation in the program; preparing the selected athletes in a pre-training program to insure their technical skills and readiness for the program; intensive training of the selected athletes; monitoring progress for each of the selected athletes relative to individual progress goals set for each of the selected candidates; maintaining communication between athletes and athlete parents regarding candidate progress and development; fostering cultural immersion and education of athletes regarding new cultures; facilitating of athletes into a professional athletic career; and supporting and counseling of athletes during their professional athletic career and for related post athletic career options.

2. The structured program of claim 1, wherein said prescreening process is conducted by club level athletic teams that recommend their top-level athletes for participation in the program.

3. The structured program of claim 1, wherein said rigorous screening includes physical and psychological testing of the plurality of athlete candidates to insure their qualification for participation in the program.

4. The structured program of claim 3, wherein said rigorous screening further includes interviews with the athlete candidates, their parents, their teachers and their coaches to insure their qualification for participation in the program.

5. The structured program of claim 1, wherein said intensive training is conducted at destination athletic clubs.

6. The structured program of claim 5, wherein said intensive training at the destination athletic clubs is sponsored by a professional athletic team.

7. The structured program of claim 6, wherein athletes that successfully complete the program are given an opportunity to play with a professional club that sponsored the program.

8. The structured program of claim 1, wherein the development of the selected athletes is monitored to track the athlete's progress in the development of their athletic skills, their mental abilities and their personal character.

9. The structured program of claim 1, wherein athletes communicate with their parents via free telephone service.

10. The structured program of claim 1, wherein parents can observe the development of the athletes via webcam monitors.

11. The structured program of claim 1, wherein fostering cultural immersion of the athletes is enhanced using cultural and recreational trips throughout Europe.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is related to and claims priority from earlier filed U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/942,217, filed Jun. 6, 2007.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to method for identifying and instructing top athletes. More specifically, the present invention relates to a systematic method for identifying and screening high performing athletes so that they can get the required additional instruction and mentoring that will assist them to develop into elite athletes.

A large number of young athletes aspire to the dream of becoming a top performing professional athlete. In order to identify those outstanding prospects that may have the skills and character to move on to reach their goal, extensive scouting systems have been established. In the United States, such scouting systems focus primarily on the identification of athletes in the sports of baseball, basketball, hockey and American football. Similarly, many professional sports teams outside of the US are also investing a great deal of time and energy into systems that are focused on the identification of the next generation of elite athletes.

Once a prospect is identified as an elite athlete by a team outside the US there are national programs and various partnerships in place that have been created specifically for elite player development. Many of these programs are structured to identify elite player prospects, typically in the age range of between 17-22, for training as professional and National Team players. Some of these players receive a scholarship to cover their financial needs so they can concentrate on their athletic development. In this manner, talented players are offered individualized and professional training to complement their other training while elevating the players' game.

In contrast, in the United States, many players who wish to achieve a higher level of development within their sport must seek individual training from trainers. The difficulty is that many individual trainers are better businessmen than athletic trainers, regardless of their playing backgrounds. Of course while there are great trainers, there are also a number of trainers who are in the business of training. In these cases a player will improve simply because of his commitment and the extra practice and often regardless of the trainer's ability.

Similarly, there are a large number of training camps that are offered to high performing athletes. These camps generally require an application process wherein dedicated, top performing athletes are selected for a once in a lifetime opportunity training experience where they attend the camp and participate in an intensive training regiment offered by top trainers and professional athletes. While these camps provide a significant training benefit, they are geared to provide a one time opportunity for all top level athletes and lack the environment wherein the top players are further vetted and indoctrinated in a manner the identifies the elite athletes within the group for participation in an ongoing training regimen that helps their development from a youth athlete to a top performing career as a professional athlete. Further, these aspects are clearly required in elite player development as it is well known in the field that one of the biggest factors in the development of elite players is creation of an environment for elite players to train and compete with and against other elite players in a professional environment operated by sports scientists with expertise in performance enhancement, nutrition, psychology, etc.

In view of the foregoing, there is a need for a method and system to identify potential elite athletes and provide an environment that enhances the development of those athletes' abilities. Further there is a need for a structured method and system that allows potential elite athletes to be identified and screened thereby allowing the best prospect athletes to participate in an environment that will encourage them to develop to the next level of athleticism. There is still a further need for a method and system that systematically identifies elite athletes and provides a structured environment for their early development, for their training as a professional, for management of their professional careers and for post career support, counseling and secondary career placement.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In this regard, the present invention provides a method and system for screening and identifying athletes that have the highest potential within their chosen sport and providing a training and development environment for these athletes at the elite and super elite level of their respective sport. For the purpose of illustrating the present invention, the inventive concepts will be described in the context of soccer although it should be apparent to one skilled in the art that the concepts disclosed in the present invention are equally applicable to any sport. The method and system of the present invention provides a step-by-step process that provides a structure whereby athletes exhibiting high potential are identified thereby allowing those athletes to gain access to the necessary resources and environment that will encourage them to develop their abilities to the next level of performance.

The method and system of the present invention is tailored to providing a training and development environment for athletes at the elite level of their respective sport. Further, the present disclosure is focused on serving the underserved segment of elite soccer players in a manner that will assist them to reach the super elite performance level. In general terms, most sports are grouped first at the general youth recreational level where any player is accepted and encouraged to learn the basics of the game and compete. The next performance level is the club level wherein players must exhibit above average skills and a dedication to the sport. These club level players participate at a more competitive and skilled level of play and are given more encouragement and coaching to further hone and develop their skills. Above the club level there is a group of elite and super-elite players that the method and system of the present invention is tailored for identifying and mentoring in a manner that brings them to the top tier of athletes.

In this regard the present system employs a nine part integrated system that will be described in detail below. The steps are structured in a manner that assists in identifying those player that are the most able to benefit from intensive training to move them from a top-level athlete to an elite athlete. The steps generally include prescreening, athlete selection, pre-training/preparation, intensive training, progress monitoring, player family support and communication, cultural exposure, professional career placement and post career support and counseling. In this context, it can be seen that the method and system of the present invention provides a comprehensive approach to identifying talented athletes and providing a training and development environment for these athletes at the elite and super elite level of their respective sport.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a method and system for identifying potential elite athletes and providing an environment that enhances the development of those athletes' abilities. It is a further object of the present invention to provide a structured method and system that allows potential elite athletes to be identified and screened thereby allowing the best prospect athletes to participate in an environment that will encourage them to develop to the next level of athleticism. It is still a further object of the present invention to provide a method and system that systematically identifies elite athletes and provides a structured environment for their early development, for their training as a professional, for management of their professional careers and for post career support, counseling and secondary career placement.

These together with other objects of the invention, along with various features of novelty that characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed hereto and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and the specific objects attained by its uses, reference should be had to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there is illustrated a preferred embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Now referring in detail to the features of the present invention in the context of a preferred embodiment. As was stated above, the present invention provides a method and system for screening and identifying athletes that have the highest potential within their chosen sport and providing a training and development environment for these athletes at the elite and super elite level of their respective sport. For the purpose of illustrating a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the inventive concepts will be described in the context of soccer, although it should be apparent to one skilled in the art that the concepts disclosed in the present invention are equally applicable to any sport. The method and system of the present invention generally provides a step-by-step process that provides a structure whereby athletes exhibiting high potential are identified thereby allowing those athletes to gain access to the necessary resources and environment that will encourage them to develop their abilities to the next level of performance.

In the most general form the present invention provides a nine part integrated system. The elements of the system are structured in a manner that assists in identifying those player that are the most able to benefit from intensive training to move them from a top-level athlete to an elite athlete. Accordingly, a structured program is provides for identification and training top-level athletes in their respective sport including the following elements:

prescreening a plurality of athlete candidates for participation in the program;

rigorously screening the plurality of athlete candidates to determine and select those suited for participation in the program;

preparing the selected athletes in a pre-training program to insure their technical skills and readiness for the program;

intensive training of the selected athletes;

monitoring progress for each of the selected athletes relative to individual progress goals set for each of the selected candidates;

maintaining communication between athletes and athlete parents regarding candidate progress and development;

fostering cultural immersion and education of athletes regarding new cultures;

facilitating of athletes into a professional athletic career; and

supporting and counseling of athletes during their professional athletic career and for related post athletic career options.

Looking at each of the parts of the present invention in detail, the first component provides for player prescreening. Preferably, player prescreening is performed and completed by the various teams at the club level of the sport. In the prescreening process, the top-level club teams from around the country identify their top performing athletes based on their ability as well as their attitude and sportsmanship. Once making their selections of the top performing athletes, the club teams recommend those athletes for participation in the development program.

Once all of the club teams make their recommendations regarding athletes for participation the development program, the recommended athletes are then subjected to a rigorous screening process. The rigorous screening process serves to vet all of the athletes that have been recommended for participation from the club level prescreening process. Each of the athletes is screened using both physical and psychological criteria to insure their particular qualification for participation in the development system. Further, interviews are conducted with the players, their parents, their teachers and their coaches to verify their qualification. In this selection process, objective techniques including a battery of structured physical and psychological tests are employed to remove subjective personal biases from the selection process. Further, all of the interviews are conducted using a structured format in order that those athletes that have the highest potential for becoming elite athletes are identified. In this manner it is the prescreening and athlete selection process that serves to insure that only those athletes that have the highest potential for successfully completing the development program are identified for participation.

After the prescreening and selection process have been completed and the highest level athletes have been selected for participation in the program, the athletes that have been selected for participation in the development system are then provided with an initial intensive preparation program. The preparation program is arranged to polish the athlete's technical skills to insure their readiness for entry into the development program. This step further serves to insure that the athletes that enter the program are positioned to achieve the highest level of success possible.

Those athletes that successfully pass through the prescreening, selection and preparation portion of the program are then sent to the destination clubs for training. Destination clubs are established in partnership with professional clubs wherein the professional clubs sponsor the destination training clubs. When the athletes are selected and enter the development system, they are placed into destination club teams where they enter youth development academies for intensive immersion into their respective sport. The athletes receive structured training in individually tailored programs that are designed for the development of the athlete's athletic ability, mental conditioning and character.

As part of the intensive training program, the athlete's progress is monitored relative to a set of goals. As the athletes progress through the development system, individualized performance objectives are developed and set out for each of the athletes. In this regard, the athletes are required to develop their athletic skills, their mental abilities and their personal character. During participation in the development system the athletes are monitored and constantly updated regarding their progress on their development related to the performance objectives that have been set for them. These progress reports are established and tracked by coaches and counselors and are posted on a secured website for access and review by the players and their parents.

Safety of the youth players is an important aspect of the development system of the present invention. In addition to constantly communicating each of the player's progress to their parents as described above, parents are enabled to communicate with their children on a regular basis via free telephone service. Further, many of the destination clubs include webcam monitoring. In this regard, the parents can both talk with the athletes and also periodically monitor their training progress in real time using the webcam monitors.

One of the highlights of the development program of the present invention is the cultural immersion experience that the athletes get by attending the destination club training academies. Within the context of the development system of the present invention, athletes participate in travel across Europe to experience the history, tradition, art and culture. Recreational and cultural trips are organized to maximize the immersion experience and provide a highly educational experience for those participating in the development system.

Ultimately, upon successfully completing the development and training program the athletes are placed into a ground floor professional career opportunity. In particular, athletes that successfully graduate the development program are given an opportunity to play with a professional club that sponsored the development program. This allows the athletes the opportunity to showcase their development through the program as well as an opportunity to launch their professional athletic career.

Finally, the system of the present invention allows the athletes to future proof their career by assisting players in managing their careers in a manner that allows them to progress with their career such that when their playing days draw to a close. The system of the present invention provides support and counseling of athletes during their professional athletic career and for related post athletic career options. Using the contacts available through the development system, the athletes can pursue opportunities in areas such as sports related computer systems, media technologies, broadcasting, marketing, management, coaching and finance.

It can therefore be seen that the method and system of the present invention provides a comprehensive approach to identifying talented athletes and providing a training and development environment for these athletes at the elite and super elite level of their respective sport. In this regard the present invention to provides a structured method and system that allows potential elite athletes to be identified and screened thereby allowing the best prospect athletes to participate in an environment that will encourage them to develop to the next level of athleticism. As an additional benefit, the present invention provides a method and system that systematically identifies elite athletes and provides a structured environment for their early development, for their training as a professional, for management of their professional careers and for post career support, counseling and secondary career placement. For these reasons, the instant invention is believed to represent a significant advancement in the art, which has substantial commercial merit.

While there is shown and described herein certain specific structure embodying the invention, it will be manifest to those skilled in the art that various modifications and rearrangements of the parts may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the underlying inventive concept and that the same is not limited to the particular forms herein shown and described except insofar as indicated by the scope of the appended claims.