Borussia Dortmund boast numerous talented youngsters in their youth teams. To ensure that they are all looked after in the best possible way, Otto Addo has been working for BVB as a coach at the interface between young talent and professionals since the beginning of this season. The 45-year-old former BVB striker (1999 - 2005) is responsible for bringing the top talents through to the first team, and for the supervision and additional training of these players.
Addo is taking care of the outstanding players of the U17, U19 and U23 teams, but also young players from the first team squad who have little or no Bundesliga experience. It's a range of duties that the former professional player has defined for himself: "The idea came to me when I was an U19 coach at HSV.” During his stint with Nordsjaelland FC in Denmark, the idea of helping players individually became more concrete to add the one or two percent they lack to make the breakthrough. Addo wrote a job concept and first filled the new position of talent coach at Borussia Mönchengladbach, before switching to the Black & Yellows. In the meantime, several clubs have established this position.
Currently the talent trainer’s work is concentrated on three pillars: Addo not only watches training sessions, but youth team games as well. If he is not able to attend these games live, the most important action is recorded and analysed. In addition, position-specific training sessions take place once or twice a week before school. In these, the talents have to solve game-specific situations, which prepare them for their playing roles. Addo also meets his charges outside of training in order to get to know the players better. Depending on the situation, he visits the players monthly or every two months. If someone was injured, he might need more intensive care.
Which three or four players from each team that can make it to the top and benefit from special support is decided by the respective coaches after pre-season. "But this is not set in stone, it's flexible," with the coach explaining that the composition of the talent group can also change once during the course of a season.
"My job is to create the best possible conditions. You have to slow some players down; some you have to encourage. Players are all different and I try to respond to that," the coach described. "The quality of the players here is much higher than at other clubs. But it's also more difficult to break into the first team. So Addo also has to prepare his charges for disappointment: "You have to be realistic. The chances of becoming a professional footballer are not great. It's important to us that the boys finish school, too. We get a lot of support from teachers for that."
The most important goal from Addo's point of view is "that we develop players who try to achieve the best out of self-motivation. If you do that right, you don't need me anymore." He wants the players to work on their own weaknesses. "If they learn to recognize certain situations and be proactive themselves, we'll take a big step forward."