Westwood Wanderers FC Coaching Philosophy
Provide football to children of all ages and ability in a safe and friendly environment. Deliver age appropriate coaching. Offer a challenging but supportive environment where children can learn and develop from their mistakes without pressure or worry.
Promote good behaviour by all and respect for others. Coaching aims Provide age appropriate coaching in a safe, friendly environment.
Develop the whole player using the four corners of the Football Association LTPD model. Social, psychological, physical, technical cover.
Role of the Coach Mentor – listen to players, advise and extend their thinking. Motivate – Set age appropriate challenges.
Friend – Set the environment, Friendly, Fun, Fair. Facilitator – Allow players to express themselves.
Good Coach Encourages players to try new things. Supports and inspires through practice and game time. Understand each child as unique. Puts the child and their needs at the centre of all activity.
Communicates using age appropriate language and technique.
Player Development Westwood Wanderers FC use the FA’s four-corner model for long term player development. Technical, physical, social, psychological.
• Use different methods of communication to engage with different types of learners.
• Visual (seeing): Tactics boards, posters, diagrams, cue and prompt cars, as well as cones on the pitch.
• Auditory (hearing): Speak with players, ask questions, encourage discussions in groups amongst the players to solve game-realistic
• Kinaesthetic (doing); Demonstration to the team by the coach or by a player to their team mates.
• Be a good role model for the players.
• Create a positive and welcoming environment.
• Praise players for their effort and endeavour as well as their ability.
• Manage mistakes to the player’s advantage – understand what they were trying to do. Sometimes they will have the right idea but just fail in the execution of the technique or the skill.
• Make sure football is fun, but with a purpose. Ensure the development of skills and game understanding.
Ability and Opinion
• A player’s performance in practice and matches can be influenced by the following factors, all of which need to be considered when forming an opinion of a player’s true ability.
• Date of birth, Body type, Adolescent growth spurt, Physical maturity, Psychological maturity, Social maturity, Previous experience, Opposition, Own team’s playing standards, Position suitability, The instructions given to the player, recent playing activity.
Growth and Maturation
• Appreciate that all players are growing and maturing at different rates.
• Be patient, supportive and encouraging with ALL the players in your squad. .
• Understand that all some players need is ‘time ’. • Don’t assume that the current success of a player is an indicator of ongoing proficiency.
• Don’t over burden the players that represent the extreme early or late developer.
Relative Age Effect
• Recruitment trends in professional academies show a bias towards players born between September and December, making them the older players in their age group.
• Design and deliver challenges which offset the relative age effect.
• Consider changing the pitch size, the size of the ball, rules of the practice/game, the game format.
• Consider group bigger and physically developed players to compete against each other in practice.
• By planning ahead the coach can create an environment that minimises distractions and helps players to stay ‘on-task’ for longer.
• Organise sessions that are interesting, challenging, varied and fun.
• Avoid players being stood in line or asking them to wait around for too long without a focus.
• Plan arrival activities so players can begin practising as soon as they arrive.
• Outline rights and responsibilities to players. Refer to FA Respect Codes of Conduct.
• Praise and reward good behaviour.
• If you have to intervene, do so in a calm and controlled manner.
• If boundaries are consistently broken then there should be a consequence.
As a coach, remember the only person’s behaviour you can control is your own, so set a good example.
Coaching recommendations for players 5 – 11
Positive Learning Environment
• Encourage players to be creative and take considered risk in both practice and games.
• Remember – mistakes do happen.
• Let players make some of the decisions.
• Let them know that their opinions count too.
• Create opportunities for players to explore, question and foster their natural curiosity and imagination.
• Allow players to experience success.
Let the Players Play
• All children should be given equal playing time on match-day wherever and whenever possible.
During practice and games.
• Ensure players are given the chance to play a ‘game ’ during every practice session.
• Don’t let the children’s arena become dominated by adults.
Skill Development and Decision Making
• Practice should replicate the demands of the ‘game’ as much as possible. Give lots of opportunities to practice different aspects of the game (shooting, dribbling, tackling, passing, goalkeeping), in context.
• Goals should be used in practice as often as possible to help players’ enjoyment and motivation.
• Small-sided games on appropriate size pitches provide young
players with opposition, decision-making and challenge, all of which help their skill development. Themed Practice Try and link the different parts of a coaching practice together – for a realistic outcome to the session.
• Warm-up: Players work in twos passing through a variety of different size gates, using different techniques and surfaces of the foot.
• Skill development: Play a small-sided possession game (e.g. 3v1 or 4v2) on appropriate sized pitch.
• Game: Any 4v4 game with a focus on passing or a through-the-thirds game.
• Set challenges in practice sessions, e.g. Use your weaker foot when you next can, in practice.
• Reinforce the learning focus from practice sessions on match day.
• Set players specific challenges that link to the theme of a recent practice session, which can be discussed at half-time and after the game.
• During practice sessions try to ‘match’ the players up in lots of different ways in order to meet their individual needs.
Develop Fundamental Movement Skills
Between the ages of 5-11 players have a ‘window of opportunity’ to develop their agility, balance, co-ordination and speed (ABC’s).
Coaches should be creative in their practice design and building in a physical benefit for the players, e.g.
• Tag Games.
• Running and Dodging.
• Throwing and catching.
• Jumping and balancing.
Use a Variety of Interventions
Young players don’t enjoy being shouted at, having their mistakes highlighted or having to stop playing the game to listen to the coach talk at length. A variety of coaching methods should be used to help players learning the game, e.g.
• Command (Directive). • Question and Answer. • Observation and Feedback. • Guided Discovery. • Trial and Error.
Coaching Methods ‘5 Pillars’
Use Small-Sided Games
• Players should experience a variety of formats of the game, played on appropriately sized pitches.
• The game is essentially a series of difference scenarios (1v1, 2v1, 1v2,3v2, etc) and players should experience a variety of these game-like challenges during practice sessions.
• Coaches should use uneven sides in practice as a tool to challenge the players.
Appreciate What it’s like to be Young
• What the game of football ‘looks’ like for a group of 7 and 8 year olds will be significantly different to the game played by older players and adults.
• If a coach tires to ‘fast-forward’ young players to this level too quickly, important stages of development may be missed.
• Young players shouldn’t be benchmarked against adult professional players.
Consider Young Players’ Self-esteem
Coaches should consider how their decisions will impact upon a young player’s self esteem, motivation and enjoyment of the game.
For example, what would it feel like to be repeatedly used as a substitute?
Coaches should praise effort and positive behaviour as well as good play.
Things to avoid
- Don’t impose unrealistic adult expectations on young players.
- Don’t be so intent on winning games that young players miss out on the opportunities to learn and fall in love with the game.
- Don’t apply ‘out-dated’ coaching methods with young players.
- Avoid children standing in lines or queuing.
Coaching Recommendations for Players aged 12-16
Ensure Practices are Relevant and Realistic
- Realistic passing, receiving and possession practices which create appropriate pressure, interference and distraction will help young players develop their awareness and game understanding.
- Become more effective ‘off-the-ball’. Develop an understanding of movement to support team-mates and how to create and exploit space.
- Develop scanning, predicting and assessing skills to form a ‘picture’ before receiving the ball.
Develop Basic Tactical Understanding
Introduce players to the 56 phases of the game:
- Attacking when opponents are ‘in balance’.
- Attacking when opponents are ‘out of balance’.
- Defensive play whilst ‘in balance’.
- Defensive play whilst ‘out of balance’.
- The finishing phase.
- Goal keeping.
Introduce Some Position Specific Practices
A players get older they will begin to recognise the significance of practice sessions to their role within the team.
Some specific positional practices should be introduced as appropriate.
This should be balance with experience playing and practising in different positions.
Encourage Players to be Self-Reflective
Players should be encouraged to reflect on their effectiveness in practice and games, and challenged to think about how they may improve next time.
This process may be done individually, in small groups or collectively.
It may be enhanced if the team/player and the coach discuss realistic and achievable challenges and goals to work towards
Coaches should continue to encourage players in this age group to be creative by designing challenging practice sessions.
Master the skill of posing effective questions to develop the player’s active involvement in the training and learning process.
Encourage players to think, examin, judge and evaluate to find their own solutions.
After all it is their team, their game, their learning. We are just here to help them reach their full potential.