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Svend Graversen: Why Early Defeats Are Necessary

By Satyajit Sadanandan

“The football world is ruthless. There will always be someone trying to knock you down. The most important thing for young players is to know how to handle defeats – whether you can rise after falling down.”

– Svend Graversen

Svend Graversen, Sports Director of FC Midtjylland, is one of the main architects behind the club’s World famous football academy since it’s beginning in 2004.

FC Midtjylland, the reigning champions of Danish football, is a relatively small but incredibly successful club. Widely known for being at the forefront of innovation and implementing cutting edge analytics in football, the club has developed many famous Professional footballers over the years. They have also been giant killers on the ground – beating much bigger clubs with incomparable budgets including Manchester United. They continue to achieve success on the field and in their academy and Svend is their technical director responsible for all sporting areas from the first team to their youth academy.

Svend has been with FC Midtjylland since it’s beginning in 2000 and has been very successful at all the different roles he has handled – from Scouting to Coaching to being the Head of their Football Academy to now being the Head of Sports (Technical Director).

He is behind the long line of top players who over the years have flown from the academy nest in FC Midtjylland and gone on to play in major European leagues and also their National teams.

FC Midtjylland alumni including Winston Reid (West Ham United, England), Simon Kjær (Sevilla, Spain), Pione Sisto (Celta de Vigo, Spain), Jonas Lössl (Huddersfield, England), Joachim Andersen (Sampdoria, Italy) and many others, will all confirm that Svend has played a crucial role in their development both inside and outside football, according to Claus Steinlein, the CEO of FC Midtjylland.

Svend is also a successful Sports Parent, being the proud father of a Danish international volleyball player and has navigated many tough choices that all parents encounter during their child’s sporting journeys.

In this Podcast, Svend shares some of the best practices from his long journey as a talent development guru:

  • Why skills are not the most important criteria to select young players.
  • What qualities young players aspiring to play at the top level must have.
  • How he creates challenges for young players and why those are needed.
  • Some of the myths and misconceptions among parents and coaches.
  • And smart practices for sports parents to ensure their child’s success.

Listen in by Streaming | Downloading here:

Other options to tune in:

Pontus Maltborg - Use Scarcity To Your Advantage
The Smarts Sports Parenting Podcast