Lazio president Claudio Lotito hosted a conference to present the Biancocelesti’s ARP Project earlier today, according to a report from Italian media outlet La Lazio Siamo Noi.
Lotito was present with the Head of the Youth Sector Mauro Bianchessi, the coach of the Under 18 team Tommaso Rocchi and a delegation of youth players, as well as some players from the Lazio Women squad.
They presented the Analysis, Research and Performance (APR) project, a plan to create an ideal environment to help develop talent through improvements in all aspects.
Lotito discussed the project, saying:
I felt it was essential to be present despite my commitments. I have focused a lot on the youth sector. When I came in there was a dramatic situation from a structural point of view. I believed that results are not only due to technical skills, but also to mental skills and concentration. Everyone has to work in unison to achieve a goal and to make the team grow.
That’s why I gave the youth sector state-of-the-art organisation. Certainly today Lazio’s youth sector is highly qualified and organised at a structural level. From an early age they have to understand the path, where the start is and where the finish is. They start in a family environment where they have everything at their disposal to express their potential.
They have to do that by watching the older players in the Primavera and first team. We have a video room, a gymnasium, an indoor Olympic-size swimming pool, a warehouse, a series of pitches, two more new ones built in synthetic turf, to allow everyone to express themselves at their best.
When the children enter the largest sports centre in Italy they are amazed. They must be proud to belong to this big family. I provide the best I can, then it’s up to the boys to use it 100%. It is a source of pride for me to see a boy to start from our youth system and land up in the first team. This project is the beginning of a new mentality that will make Lazio one of the top clubs at international level.
Head of the Youth Sector Bianchessi then spoke in detail about the youth system.
We are unique in Italy in the development of the youth sector. With great satisfaction and thanks to the will of president Lotito, we are here to present great projects for future training. Our training school, which last year had 150 hours of lessons, from this year will have two more new courses.
It can give future outlets to youngsters, we have a video game programmer course in collaboration with our sponsor Konami, the other is done together with the FIGC, and will allow you to have the E License, the first step for a future career as a coach. Our mission is that the youth sector becomes a resource and not an expense for the growth of the club and for the production of professional footballers.
If you look at the national matches, the derbies played and the players who have gone to the national team, the average over the last three years is up in all these aspects. One of the first things I learned at Roma is that the one thing you can’t get wrong is the derbies.
From 25% of derbies won we’ve gone up to 72% of derbies won. We had three players in the national team three years ago, now we have 15.
He then moved onto discussing the ARP project.
We have created this unique process in Italy with the aim of perfecting the qualities of the best players, working on them all round. Willpower, hunger, sacrifice and attachment to the shirt, this is what we work on.
We have many facilities that Lazio has made available to us. There are two ways to build a youth sector, either by buying 17–18-year-olds from around Europe or by developing and nurturing youngsters at home. And we have chosen this second way.
Under-18 coach Rocchi spoke about both the ARP project and the youth system as well.
I thank the president for what he has done for the youth sector, for the energy he has invested. I think this is a fantastic and unique project. I had a good career as a player, I hope to do it as a coach too, but I would like to say that if I had these opportunities, I could have done even better as a player.
The boys must take it as a chance to achieve great results and goals. The goal is unanimous for everyone, the goal is to get to the first team. That’s not conceit, it’s a desire to get there and believe in yourself.
The important thing is that we all go in the same direction. The goal is called Lazio. For the first team, having players who grow up in the youth system is the best.
Andrea Cardone, the Technical and Methodological Coordinator, spoke about the importance and goals of the project.
The aim of this project is to improve the technical, athletic and other aspects of the young players. The sole objective is to bring as many players as possible from the youth sector into the first team.
Karate training, in the pool, on the pitch, giving as many experiences as possible to these boys can increase their experience.
We also attach great importance to the psychological performance profile. That’s why we also have people who deal directly with this aspect.
Finally, Vincenzo Chiavetta, a lecturer in Sport Psychology, spoke about the importance of mentality and a player’s psychology.
The mental aspect has a huge influence on a player’s growth. It is based on the increase in confidence and self-esteem, motivation and concentration, but also the ability to manage anger, negative emotions and anxiety. These affect sporting performance.
Psychologically forming the character and mentality of the athlete, who grows up wanting to win but above all to give his or her all. But also, to learn humility, the basis of every champion. We eliminate egocentric concepts and focus on the good of the group and the team.