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  • Events
  • Talent Development
Improve playfully with joy and focus
Data as a key to the American dream
Andreas Terler
Automatisch gespeicherter Entwurf 1
Jonathan (10) is about to start his third season at the skills.lab Academy. The program has already helped him become a better football player.

The ball is coming at Jonathan from the front. He receives it, turns 180 degrees and passes the ball to his virtual teammate on the screen. In a few minutes, he processes 10 or 15 balls in this way. Each time, he has to find a new, quick solution. You can see the ten-year-old’s routine in this exercise.


On this day, he came to skills.lab Wundschuh to train on his own. A few weeks ago, he completed the skills.lab Academy. This is the second time he has been part of the talent development program in the south of Graz. What he learned in the process? “First of all, I got to know Laura, who was my partner in the Academy,” Jonathan explains. The sessions within the program take place every two weeks in teams of two. In addition, there are several assessments over a period of ten months, in which the performance development of the players is closely monitored.

"For the overview on the field, the training in the skills.lab Arena helped me a lot. If you can't see what's happening behind you and you miss an opponent, he'll take the ball away from you."
Jonathan (10), participant of the skills.lab-Academy

Football-wise, Jonathan notices especially that he has made progress with his coordination: “For the overview on the field, the training in the skills.lab Arena has also helped me a lot. If you can’t see what’s happening behind you and you miss an opponent, he’ll take the ball away from you.” His father, who often accompanies him to training sessions, has noticed that Jonathan’s double-leggedness has improved: “He’s left-footed and only used his right foot for standing at the beginning. Now you can see him using both feet in games, too.”


Jonathan plays in matches for the “Fußballschule Raffl” usually against older players, and knows how to assert himself as a defender against his opponents. His father pulls out his smartphone and plays a scene from a match. Jonathan fairly separates an opponent from the ball in his own half, turns in the opposite direction and quickly initiates an attack with a pass to his teammate. First-touch control is crucial in such actions. In the skills.lab Academy, under the guidance of certified coaches, the focus is on specifically this area.

“Here it is possible to focus on individual training areas really well. Training playfully and under laboratory conditions like in the skills.lab is therefore something out of the ordinary,” says Jonathan’s father, who also occasionally books a training slot in Wundschuh together with his son. As is well known, the joy of playing football knows no age. At the skills.lab Academy, it is combined with tangible, playful development especially for children: “It was fun for Jonathan right from the start, which is why the visits to Wundschuh have become a fixture over the past two years.”


Despite singing, choir and guitar lessons, the ten-year-old’s 30- to 60-minute sessions can be easily integrated into his weekly schedule. Although Jonathan is moving from elementary school to high school in the fall, he will still apply for the upcoming skills.lab Academy. “Because, quite simply, it’s a perfect complement to team training,” says his father. What tips does Jonathan himself have for kids who also want to secure a spot for the fall at a scouting appointment? “Just have fun, give everything and show all of your talent.”