Characteristics of Players 5 – 8
- Excitable – Expect lots of energy
- Enthusiastic – Try to build enthusiasm not destroy it
- Selfish – Don’t expect lots of passes
- Short concentration span – Organise lots of short games
- Limited understanding of space – Expect them all to chase the ball
- Sensitive – Children are very sensitive to failure
- Decision-making – Split them into 3v3 or 4v4 games as more options make decision making harder
- Talkative – Encourage them to ask questions
Characteristics of Players 8 – 11
- Golden Age of Learning – Encourage learning and invite questions
- More awareness of others – Increased decision-making options mean you can move to 6v6 and 7v7 games
- Enthusiastic – Don’t stifle this enthusiasm but encourage and develop it
- More attentive – You can explain and explore things in more depth
- Enjoy a challenge – Try to stretch their minds and set new games
- Begin to lose flexibility – Be aware that the warm-up is vital
Characteristics of Players 11 – 14
- Team play – Help to develop their understanding of team play
- Problem solving – Don’t provide all the answers- encourage players to come up with their own solutions and ideas
- Peer pressure – Be aware of this growing influence and how can you use this to assist you.
- Identifies others’ strengths and weaknesses – This can be both positive and negative- encourage your players to assess displays in a positive way
- Competitive – Facilitate the development of a more physical aspect
- Physical change – Be aware and sensitive of the impact puberty may have on the individual
Characteristics of Players 14 – 16
- Growing Stronger – Players are approaching adulthood
- Greater mental strength – Players have a greater ability to cope with tough situations Physical challenge as the body becomes stronger so does the ability to meet the physical challenge
- More tactically aware – Players are more aware of their own role and those around them
- More analytical – Players are able to review their own and other’s performance (including yours) which should be encouraged
- More competitive – the challenge to compete and be successful becomes greater
- Change – there are lots of changes; Moving from school to college or work. Relationships with parents are changing and new relationships are being developed.
DEVELOP EXPERTISE IN THE COACHING OF THE AGE GROUP FOR WHICH YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE
- ENSURE CHILDREN ENJOY A FEAR-FREE ENVIRONMENT. FREE FROM PHYSICAL BUT ALSO PSYCHOLOGICAL HARM.
- CHILDREN MUST BE GIVEN FREEDOM TO EXPERIMENT AND TO MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS WITHOUT FEAR OF OVERT CRITICISM.
- ENCOURAGE RISK TAKING – TRY TO DEVELOP “BRAVE” PLAYERS (SEE COACHING PHILOSOPHY ABOVE)
- RECOGNITION AND CELEBRATION ARE GREATER MOTIVATORS THAN CRITICISM AND HUMILIATION.
- DON’T USE SARCASM – BANTER TO ADULTS CAN BE HUMILIATION TO YOUNG PEOPLE
- MAXIM – “CATCH THEM DOING SOMETHING WELL” OR “MANAGE
MISTAKES – PRAISE THE SUCCESS”
- PLAYERS WILL USUALLY KNOW THEY HAVE MADE A MISTAKE BEFORE ANYONE ELSE CAN COMMUNICATE TO THEM THAT THEY HAVE!
- BE PATIENT – FOOTBALL IS A LATE DEVELOPING SPORT (PLAYERS PEAK at AROUND 26/27 YEARS OF AGE – A LITTLE YOUNGER FOR FEMALES) – PLAYER DEVELOPMENT IS A LONG TERM APPROACH – THERE ARE NO SHORT CUTS.
PRINCIPLES OF PLAY
CREATE, MAINTAIN & EXPLOIT:- SPACE
- SUPPORT – SPEED, ANGLE, DISTANCE
- DISPERSAL/SPREADING OUT – PLAY IN THE SPACES BETWEEN
- MOBILITY/MOVEMENT – QUICK, SLOW, “DRIFT” OR STAND STILL?
- PENETRATION – WHEN APPROPRIATE
- IMPROVISATION – BE CLEVER AND IMAGINATIVE
OUT OF POSSESSION
DENY, RESTRICT & PREDICT:- SPACE
- DELAY, DENY, DEFLECT
- CONCENTRATION (OF NUMBERS)/COMPACTNESS
- CONTROL/RESTRAIN (OPPONENTS)
PRACTICE TEMPLATE – SUGGESTED
- 1.5 HOURS
- WARM UP: 10 – 15 MINS
- FOCUSSED PRACTICE WITH COACHING: 30 MINS
- SSG WITH COACH ‘INTERVENTIONS’: 15 MINS
- FREE PLAY: 20 MINS (COACH OBSERVES – DON’T JUST WATCH!)
- WARM DOWN/DE-BRIEF:10 MINS
- APPROACH/PHILOSOPHY – MAXIMISE LEARNING TIME
- TRY TO ‘THEME’ THE SESSION
- WHAT WILL YOU END UP WITH? – PLAN A SESSION THAT FLOWS
LOGICALLY FROM WARM UP TO GAME WITH THE THEME OF THE SESSION RUNNING THROUGHOUT
- TRY TO PLAN THE AREA – MOVE CONES AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE TO MAXIMISE TIME AND TO AVOID PLAYERS WAITING FOR THE NEXT ACTIVITY
- IF PLAYERS ARE STANDING AROUND ASK YOURSELF – IS THE
PRACTICE TOO STATIC (LINE DRILL), IS IT TOO COMPLEX (PLAYERS DON’T GET IT) OR TOO EASY (NO CHALLENGE)?
- MUST BE BASED AROUND THE PRINCIPLES OF PLAY (SEE ABOVE)
- WITH A BALL WHEREVER POSSIBLE; INDIVIDUAL BALL SKILLS,
PASSING IN 2s/3s
- FUNDAMENTAL MOVEMENTS –SOME WARM UPS MAY BE WITHOUT A BALL – TAG GAMES, FOOTBALL MOVEMENTS, AGILITY, BALANCE, COORDINATION AND SPEED.
- PLEASE DO NOT DO “LAPS” (SEE THE THREE EVIL “L”s BELOW)
- DYNAMIC STRETCHING IN A WARM UP
IS IT A TECHNIQUE OR SKILL PRACTICE?
PRACTICE IS ON A CONTINUUM
- CONSTANT – LOW END OF SKILL; POSSIBLY REPRESENTED BY A STATIC PASSING DRILL. LIMITED DECISION MAKING AND A LIMITED CHALLENGE. DOES NOT TRANSFER TO THE GAME WELL.
- VARIABLE – HIGHER LEVEL PRACTICE; POSSIBLE
“INTERFERENCE” PRACTICES WHERE OTHER PLAYERS ARE DOING SOMETHING THAT INTERFERES WITH SPACE WITHOUT DELIBERATELY TRYING TO TAKE YOUR BALL AWAY. REQUIRES DECISION MAKING AND APPRECIATION OF SPACE, PLANNING AHEAD, COMMUNICATION*** AND OBSERVATION ETC.
- RANDOM – HIGHEST LEVEL PRACTICE – USUALLY FULL OPPOSITION (THOUGH THIS CAN BE REDUCED BY
PLAYING WITH AN OVERLOAD TO CREATE SUCCESS – SEE “STEPs” DOCUMENT ATTACHED)
“Games are played with skill, not technique.”
– John Cartwright
NB “COMMUNICATION” MAY NOT BE JUST CALLING TO TEAM-MATES – IT INVOLVES EYE CONTACT, HAND SIGNALS, ACTING ON WHAT OTHERS DO AND ‘OTHERS’ INCLUDES OPPONENTS AS WELL AS TEAM-MATES.
- THIS SHOULD BE SMALL SIDED TO GENERATE MANY TOUCHES,
SIMPLER DECISIONS, TACKLES, SHOTS, PASSES ETC
- IF YOU HAVE A LARGE GROUP, CONSIDER MAKING TWO SMALL SIDED GAMES TO MAXIMISE ALL OF THE ABOVE FOR AS MANY PLAYERS AS POSSIBLE
- ALL PLAYERS MUST BE ENCOURAGED TO DO SOME FORM OF WARM DOWN. IT STARTS GOOD HABITS FROM THE YOUNGEST AGES
- BIG MOVEMENTS TO SMALL, QUICK MOVEMENTS TO SLOW
- PLAYERS START TO LOSE FLEXIBILITY AT THE AGE OF 10
- STATIC STRETCHING AT THE END OF WARM DOWN HELPS TO
MAINTAIN FLEXIBILITY AND RANGE OF MOVEMENT
- ENCOURAGE PLAYERS TO PUT BACK ON WARM CLOTHING, HATS,
GLOVES ETC THEY MAY HAVE TAKEN OFF DURING PRACTICE
DE-BRIEF (SEE BELOW)
- OPPORTUNITY FOR PLAYERS TO REFLECT ON WHAT THEY HAVE
LEARNT AND FOR THE COACH TO REFLECT ON HOW THE PLAYERS THOUGHT THE PRACTICE WENT
NB – THE ABOVE TEMPLATE IS ONLY ONE WAY OF STRUCTURING PRACTICE. YOU MAY CHOOSE THE “WHOLE-PART-WHOLE” METHOD WHERE YOU START WITH A FREE PLAY GAME FOLLOWING WARM UP THEN MOVE ‘BACK’ TO A SKILL PRACTICE AND THEN MOVE ON TO A GAME AGAIN AT THE END.
- TOP TIPS – IT IS BELIEVED THAT, AS A RULE OF THUMB, THE ATTENTION SPAN OF A PLAYER IS THEIR AGE PLUS A MINUTE. SO, FOR 6 YEAR OLDS PLAN FOR A NEW CHALLENGE/ACTIVITY/PROGRESSION EVERY 7 MINUTES!
- DELIVER COACHING POINTS (INTERVENTIONS – SEE CONTINUUM GRID BELOW) QUICKLY TO MAINTAIN PRACTICE MOMENTUM
- AT ALL AGES ENCOURAGE THE USE OF BOTH FEET – ENTHUSE / ENCOURAGE PLAYERS TO DO PERSONAL PRACTICE AWAY FROM THE CLUB.
PLAYERS HAVE A FAVOURITE FOOT – TRY TO HAVE THEM USE
THE “OTHER” FOOT (NOT “WEAK” FOOT) AS WELL.
TYPES OF GAMES FOR AGE GROUPS
CONSIDER THE TYPES OF SUGGESTED PRACTICES OUTLINED BELOW.
5 – 8 YEARS
- BALL CONTROL AND FAMILIARITY/MASTERY TYPE GAMES/ACTIVITIES – A BALL EACH, OBSTACLES, RACES, CHALLENGES.
- GAMES – TRY 1v1, 2v1 AND 2v2 ALSO 3v3 OR 4v4 WITH OR
WITHOUT GOALKEEPERS. WITHOUT GOALKEEPERS TRY TARGET / POP-UP GOALS.
- TRY TO INCLUDE A “STORYLINE” TO MAINTAIN YOUNG CHILDREN’S INTEREST – PIRATES, SPACEMEN & ALIENS, MONSTERS, GHOSTS ETC WILL HELP THEM TO USE THEIR IMAGINATION WHILST USING A BALL.
- BASIC GAMES – 4v4 WITH OR WITHOUT GOALKEEPERS. VARIATIONS OF BASIC GAMES – 4 GOAL GAMES, LINE-BALL / END ZONE GAMES RATHER THAN ONLY WITH GOALS.
- CONSIDER CREATING OVERLOADS TO BUILD/SCAFFOLD SUCCESS – 5v2, 4v3 ETC
- EMPHASISE PRINCIPLES OF PLAY AND MATCH SITUATIONS.
- MULTI-POSITION OPPORTUNITIES – INCREASES KNOWLEDGE OF GAME AND APPRECIATION OF TEAM-MATES’ ROLES
- INCLUDE THE “STORYLINE” IDEA FOR SLIGHTLY OLDER PLAYERS
TOO – ADJUST TO INCLUDE THEMES FROM FAVOURITE TV PROGRAMMES, COMPUTER GAMES, TOYS, BOOKS, ETC.
- EMPHASISING TEAM PLAY. CONTROL OF THE GAME WHETHER IN OR OUT OF POSSESSION
- COUNTER-ATTACKING SPECIFIC PRACTICES
- GETTING READY FOR 11v11
- PRACTICES FOR TEAM UNIT/FUNCTIONS – ATTACK / MIDFIELD VS DEFENCE
- 3v4, 4v6 ETC
- COMPETITIVE PROFICIENCY – PROBLEMS BASED ON THE STATE OF THE GAME
- COUNTER-ATTACKING SPECIFIC PRACTICES
- MAKE PRACTICES MORE CHALLENGING – REDUCE TIME/SPACE OR INCREASE OPPOSITION
- WORK WITH DIFFERENT SYSTEMS; 3-4-3, 4-3-3
- ON YOUR LEVEL 1 COURSE YOU PLANNED YOUR SESSION, DELIVERED IT AND THEN HAD TO SELF ANALYSE BASED ON A GRID OF QUESTIONS.
- CONTINUE TO CONSCIOUSLY REVIEW EVERY COACHING SESSION YOU DO. SMALL IMPROVEMENTS EVERY WEEK WILL MAKE YOU A BETTER AND MORE CONFIDENT COACH.
- IF IT TAKES 10,000 HOURS OF DELIBERATE PRACTICE FOR A
PLAYER TO BECOME AN “EXPERT”– WHAT ABOUT THE COACHES?
TRY TO APPEAL TO EVERY PREFERRED LEARNING STYLE:
- VISUAL – LIKE TO SEE DIAGRAMS AND DEMONSTRATIONS
- AUDITORY – PREFER TO HEAR/LISTEN TO INSTRUCTIONS
- READING – LIKE TO SEE WRITTEN INSTRUCTIONS
- KINAESTHETIC – PREFER TO JUST GET ON AND DO IT
THESE LEARNING STYLES WILL NOT BE SEEN IN ISOLATION – MOST PEOPLE PREFER SOME COMBINATION OF THE LEARNING
STYLES. HOWEVER, HAVING THESE IN MIND WILL HELP YOU TO
ENGAGE MOST OF THE PLAYERS MOST OF THE TIME (HOPEFULLY!)
- USE A WHITEBOARD – SHOW DIAGRAM OF SET UP, SHOW A FEW
BULLET POINT RULES OR INSTRUCTIONS,THE NAME OF THE GAME. LEAVE ON THE SIDE FOR PLAYERS TO REFER TO, IF THEY CHOOSE – TELL THEM THEY CAN
- DEMONSTRATE – SHOW THEM WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO DO. IF YOU AREN’T SURE, PRACTICE!
- SHOW THEM WHILST FACING THE PLAYERS AND ALSO DO IT WHILST FACING AWAY FROM THEM.
- GET ONE OF THE PLAYERS THAT KNOWS WHAT TO DO TO SHOW THE OTHERS KEEP INSTRUCTIONS SIMPLE AND CONCISE. GET THE PLAYERS PLAYING AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
THE THREE EVIL “L”s – LINES, LAPS, LECTURES – NO NEED, FIND ANOTHER WAY!
- ASK OPEN QUESTIONS
- ASK CLOSED QUESTIONS TO VERIFY YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THEY SAID
- ASK PROBING QUESTIONS TO GET MORE INFORMATION
NB – CHILDREN WILL OFTEN TRY TO PLEASE THE COACH. BE AWARE THAT CHILDREN MAY INDULGE IN “BUZZ-WORD BINGO” BY SAYING KEY WORDS THEY THINK YOU WANT TO HEAR E.G. “SPACE”, “SUPPORT”, “GOAL-SIDE” – TEST THEIR UNDERSTANDING OF THESE TERMS BY ASKING “WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY……..? WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO DO THAT? WHEN MIGHT YOU DO THAT?”
- AT THE END OF ALL SESSIONS ASK THE PLAYERS WHAT THEY
ENJOYED, WHAT PART OF THE SESSION THEY FELT THEY IMPROVED AND IF THEY LIKED THE GAMES THAT WERE PLAYED
- ASK THEM WHAT THEY LEARNED.
- ASK THEM WHERE THEY HAD SUCCESS
- ASK THEM WHAT THEY THOUGHT WAS HARD/DIFFICULT
- USE THE FEEDBACK WHEN PLANNING YOUR NEXT SESSION
TOP TIP – IF YOU FEEL THAT THE GAME WAS CONFUSING OR DID NOT FLOW WELL ASK YOURSELF IF IT WAS THE DESIGN OF THE SESSION ITSELF THAT WAS AT FAULT, OR, WAS IT JUST THAT THE
PLAYERS HADN’T SEEN IT BEFORE AND HAD TO GET USED TO THE PRACTICE. IF IT WAS NEW TO THE PLAYERS, TRY IT AGAIN THE FOLOWING WEEK AND SEE IF IT FLOWS ANY BETTER.
TOP TIP – TRY TO MAINTAIN A THEME (E.G. DEFENDING) FOR AROUND 3 WEEKS. THIS ALLOWS PLAYERS TO BECOME FAMILIAR
WITH CONCEPTS AND PRINCIPLES WHILST YOU SHOULD VARY THE ACTUAL PRACTICE.
NB – Some coaches will maintain a theme for as much as 6-8 weeks; I know a coach who says that, from his experience, it takes
that long for players to assimilate the detail and for real understanding to occur – knowledge moves from short term to long term memory.
- MUST BE FOOTBALL FOR ALL AT MINI-SOCCER LEVEL
- MAXIMISE GAME LEARNING AT AN APPROPRIATE LEVEL
- CONSIDER TURN UP & PLAY OPTION
- CONSIDER FRIENDLIES TO PROVIDE AUTHENTIC PLAYING
OPPORTUNITIES FOR “STRIVERS”
- PLAN FOR TRANSITION FROM ‘FOOTBALL FOR ALL’ TO ‘SELECTION TEAMS’ – ASK THE KIDS WHAT THEY WANT –E.G. U14 AGE GROUP – NB PSYCHOLOGICAL & SOCIAL CORNER DEVELOPMENT
SELECTION POLICY RATIONALE
Ideally, if there were a minimum of 2 teams all the way through mini-soccer, 9 a side and then 11-aside Patcham United FC can retain better developed players by providing an appropriate level of
challenge / competition but also have more young people playing. It is hoped that this will lead the club to maintain and develop teams at each age group. Patcham United FC needs to provide a variety of playing opportunities in order to allow more people within the local community to be at least associated with the club and even if they don’t sign up as league team members, the club can keep another tranche of young people playing that otherwise would be forced out or whom would self de-select. If Patcham United FC can tailor its approach and let people know this is not only about giving everyone a game in a competitive league – it might be about “friendlies” or in-house tournaments for the less well developed players, we can increase membership and generate lots more involvement. Consider playing in-house friendlies up or down a year group for player development needs.
For more advanced players, it is envisioned that Patcham United FC will develop links to clubs such as Brighton & Hove Albion, Crawley Town, Eastbourne Borough / Town, Burgess Hill Town, Hassocks, etc. so they can move on and up when they get to U18. Eventually, Patcham United FC may also be able to provide football for development (U21) and adult teams.
PLAN FOR TRANSITION FROM 7v7 to 9v9 to 11v11 – 4 YEAR PLAN?
- FORMATIONS – UTILISE FORMATIONS THAT WILL FACILITATE
ATTACKING, BUILD UP PLAY 2-3-1, 3-3-2/4-3-1/3-4-1, 4-3-3
- WHEN PLANNING FOR THIS TRANSITION DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN ‘SERIOUS’ PLAYERS, RECREATIONAL PLAYERS AND SOCIAL PLAYERS.
THERE ARE DIFFERENT WAYS TO COACH. INVOLVE PLAYERS IN THEIR OWN LEARNING BY USING A RANGE OF COACHING
- Coach tells & shows required solution “I want you to..!”
- Coach tells, explains & shows how to do something
QUESTION & ANSWER
- Coach leads with question to gain response from players “What do you think?” / “When or where would you do that?”
- Coach poses question & players offer verbal solution to challenge
OBSERVATION & FEEDBACK
- Coach & players observe “Let’s watch this!”
- Players & coach observe & discuss feedback
- Coach asks a question or issues a challenge “Can you show me..?/ What if..?”
- Coach challenges & players offer visual demonstration of possible solution
- Players strategise for themselves “How can you…?”
( make it more difficult for the opponents)
- Players are allowed 30 secs to discuss and come up with an idea and put it into effect in the practice
- Coach sets a challenge “Try to….. (e.g. play quickly/play forward)
- Set the challenge around the session learning without being too restrictive or possibly unrealistic to the game (e.g. “2 touch only”)
TRIAL & ERROR
- Players and/or coach decide on the challenge “Try
- Players are encouraged to find solutions with minimal support from coach