Tag: coaching

Mini Soccer Summer Festival Under 7s

Tournament Name: Mini Soccer Summer Festival Under 7s
Tournament Date: 26/08/2017
Tournament Organiser: Micky Tully
Tournament Web Address: www.goalsfootbal.co.uk
Team Age Groups: Under 7’s
Entry Fee per team: £15.00
Tournament Email Address: newcastle@goalsfootball.co.uk
Address 1: Goals Newcastle
Address 2: High Gosforth Park
Town: Newcastle Upon Tyne
Post Code: NE3 5HP
Tournament Image: Mini Soccer u7s_quq9mx.jpg
Tournament Information: Summer Festival will run from 10am-2pm, Food & Hot Drinks Available through the event, Free parking at our club. Every child will get a medal for day part in the Festival.

Roach Dynamos Jfc

Tournament Name: Roach Dynamos Jfc
Tournament Date: 05/08/2017
Tournament Organiser: Melanie Greenhalgh
Tournament Web Address: www.roachdynamos.com
Team Age Groups: Under 7’s, Under 8’s, Under 9’s, Under 10’s, Under 11’s
Entry Fee per team: 45.00
Tournament Email Address: melaniegreenhalgh@yahoo.com
Address 1: Roach Dynamos Jfc
Address 2: Sutherland Road, Darnhill
Town: Heywood
Post Code: OL10 3PL
Tournament Image: CAD27768-F5E4-4523-BD3D-634CE0D91AD0_1r9e89.jpg
Tournament Information: Parking Available £2


With teams returning back to training over the next few weeks, Pete Sturgess, FA National Coach for players aged 5-11, outlines ten top-tips to help get young players ready for the new season.

The tips below are based on guidance from the England DNA Foundation Phase project – which you can read more about below –  and are aimed at those working with young players aged 5-12 for a six week period before the season starts.

1) You’re coaching children, not adults

Getting young children ready for the new season is not the same as the preparation an adult player might be involved in. Pre-season for adults has long been associated with running laps and doing ‘doggies’ until exhaustion. If you are coaching children you must allow all sessions to be enjoyable, exciting and active. This should also be the aim at any stage of the season, not just through the summer.

2) Use fun movement activities

Warm-ups for our young players should be engaging, enjoyable and active. Look to include a wide range of movements and activities that are fun to be involved in such as running, chasing, dodging, jumping, twisting and turning. Get the children laughing and out of breath.  Include throwing and catching where you can. Games like tag rugby or dodgeball are great warm-ups.

3) The ball

All players attend training so they can play football and have lots of touches of the ball. Make sure you use the ball in your sessions as much as possible.

4) Play a variety of games

Play lots of small-sided games using different numbers of players and on pitches of different sizes. Getting the players playing matches is a great thing to include early on in both an individual session and in the six week programme.  Try and play the format of football you play on matchday- this might be 6v6 or 7v7.

5) Big group, big area

During the first couple of weeks find time to involve all the players as one big group (or two smaller groups) working in larger areas. This lowers the intensity at the start of pre-season and eases the players back into action.

6) Make things harder as the weeks go on

Smaller groups in smaller areas can be introduced as the weeks progress. 4v4 would be perfect after week three(particularly if for the previous two weeks you have played 6v6 or even 7v7). For each session think about how you can make it slightly harder for the players by increasing the time spent on the task.

7) Create individual challenges

Respect each child as an individual and adapt the session or challenge for them. Over the six weeks (and throughout the season) try to pair or group players together for different outcomes so that their individual needs are met more often.

8) Add variety

 If you train more than once a week, try to vary the kind of things you work on during sessions. Try to change the session theme so that the players are not always undertaking the same repetitive actions.

9) Concise communication followed by chance to practise

With all the activities and games you use try to give small amounts of clear and simple help and advice followed by lots of opportunities for the players to practise. Always add lots of encouragement.

10) Make sure that the players want to come back

It is very important that your summer sessions involve play, enjoyment and football. Playing games in training is vital so get the group into small-sided games as much as possible. Create something so special that the players cannot wait for the next session.

This article was originally created for The FA’s England DNA Foundation Phase project

Being the kid of the coach isn’t always the best thing….

Written from the heart of a Coach / Parent.

Being the kid of the coach isn’t always the best thing…. or so my child tells me, regardless of what many may think.

Sitting here listening to my child as they plead to miss training and asking to go to the beach or park instead whilst the sun is shining….

Sorry, I coach the team I can’t just cancel training last minute….

It made me sit back and think…..!!

When you coach and you have your own child on your team at times it can really pull on your heart strings.

If players decide to have a night off to do something fun with their family then they just don’t come to training. When your own child wants too do something else that night you still have to keep training on as you don’t want to let the team down.

Usually your child has to be ready earlier and at training earlier (sometimes to help set up)

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When your children play their match I sometimes envy the amount of praise and hugs you can give them as they run for a drink…..  I praise my child but conscious of over praising in case it gets seen as favouritism, which ironically usually results in not enough praise given to them at all.

My focus is on the whole team…. sometimes I miss what my own child does.

Don’t get me wrong, I love coaching, I really enjoy running the team, I thrive on all the kids achieving.

But sometimes it don’t half pull on your heart when your child wants you to be there at their match just for them, to just watch them and to just support them… like all the other kids on the team.

So I would just like to give a little shoutout to all the kids who’s parents coach and run teams… thank you for sharing your time with your parents to help them to help others.

And to all parents who coach and will understand some of the issues and problems you face when your own child plays for you. I take my hat off too you,  at times it can be really difficult and at times you don’t really know if your doing right from wrong but you still try your very best to benefit all. . Thank you to you.. and you’re doing a great job


A Coaches worth is found in the impact that they have on their players lives.

A coaches worth isn’t found in their win/loss record or on the resume of which team they have coached, it is found in the impact that they have on their players lives.

 “A good coach takes his love for the game and instills it in you. They mould you into the player they see inside of you and watch your talent and dedication grow into a skill that you both can be proud of. Coaches payoff is the smile they see when you’ve reached your goal. Their drive is the tears you cry because you want it so bad, knowing that he has the same feeling inside him is what motivates the player”


A good coach often without realising or even trying when will help a child fall in love with the game they love and hopefully have a lifelong involvement in some capacity be it playing, coaching, refereeing etc.

Instilling the value of teamwork, sportsmanship, integrity, honesty and respect are equally important into a child’s outlook on sport and life.

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Children should look back in adulthood at there grassroots years with fondness and remember there coach, most will hold there coach in high regard.

Speaking from personal experience I can honestly say my years playing grassroots were fantastic, made so by my coach. A man I still look up to, the first person in my thoughts when I need advice and the first person I will ring for a beer.

Because you see a coaches worth isn’t found in their win/loss record or on the resume of which team they have coached, it is found in the impact that they have on their players lives.

Are British players being stifled of creative ingenuity

Result orientated football and emphasis on a passing game strips away ingenuity, whilst pressure from adults promotes the player to make the safe option. “None of that silly stuff”. How many times have you heard an adult shout that?

There are very few coaches and adults that promote and prioritise ball mastery and tricks in this country, certainly not in a game situation.

Recently, I saw footage of a foreign boy beating players with brilliant individual trickery – and instantly I thought, I’m not hopeful I will ever see that within the English game at any level.

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Think back to the England national side playing some of the ‘minnows’. Iceland at the Euros for example. The recurring theme throughout is a boring English display struggling to break down defences, players lacking confidence and creativity to beat players 1v1. If only we had a Ronaldo, Messi, Robben, Hazard, Ronaldinho, Zidane, Cantona, Maradonna…it’s never going to happen if things remain. Why?

Academies and the like appear to be doing more damage than good too. The pressure for kids to keep their place brings about a sense of fear. Status and compliance with the norm overrides any potential brilliance and the desire to reveal world class talent. A professional academy is not perceived to be the place to try different things. Make mistakes and potentially embarrass yourself? God forbid – that craziness is for the back garden only. At the worst, one wrong move and you could be out. At the best the onlooking dad will criticise afterwards.

That foreign kid in the footage, how many times do you think he made errors before he pulled his wizardry off? One thing doing it in the garden – another pulling it off on the pitch.

I’ve spent enough time in the presence of football academies, schools and UEFA qualified coaches and I can count on one hand the step-overs I’ve seen. Not one flip flap, maybe the odd roulette, Cruyff turns yes but not a McGeady turn, the odd Rabona in play yes, but nothing like the skills we should be seeing. Too much “get the ball on the deck and play football”. Only Gazza gets close. And the proof – how many English lads play on the continent?

Kids need to be taught a vast library of skills and tricks, like a dictionary of basic English vocabulary. And be encouraged to take that into games from an early age.

Firstly, the adults need educating. I cringe when I see a brave young pro run at defenders and lose the ball. Not because the player may have lost possession but because of the inevitable stick he’s about to receive from the ‘fans’. Immediately his confidence is knocked. If he’s fortunate to stay on the pitch you can guarantee he will play the ball sideways or backwards next time he’s in possession.

Occasionally, there are exceptions to the rule. Germany’s work rate, discipline and team work help them achieve more often than not. But as for England, without truly world class individual talent (and that’s far more than athletes with speed) the quarter finals is probably the best we can hope for and as other nations improve our ambitions could even be reduced to simply qualifying for major tournaments.

The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried – grass roots ‘success’ should not be about winning, poaching or even passing the Barcelona way. It should be about freedom to express repeatedly without fear of failure the ambition to instinctively beat your opponent with skill.

Author  Christian Polzin

We are not professionals, but we stepped up when the kids needed someone. 

For the majority of us, we coach or manage our football team because it gives us a sense of joy. We enjoy the feeling we get when we help a child achieve something within the game that makes their face light up.

We’re not professionals, but we were the ones that stepped forward to run the team when others didn’t.

And that is the point. We are not professionals, nor do we claim to be. We’ve all sat on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in our armchair and shouted at the television as if we know better but we know, deep down, that we are no Pep Guardiola. Some of us, fortunately not myself, have come across parents who believe that they could be but ultimately they, like ourselves, had the chance to run the team but shirked away at the opportunity.

I’ve heard the horror stories. I’ve witnessed them in fact. I began coaching at an early age, helping run a local team at aged only 17. I stopped shortly before my 24th birthday to concentrate on the birth of my first son safe in the knowledge that my coaching days were over (little did I know that only six years later I would have a team of my own). Several years ago, whilst helping out with the aforementioned local team, I witnessed one woman actually slap the manager because her son had been named as a substitute. These are the kind of stories we hear about almost on a weekly basis.

But that is not my point.  My point goes back to the fact that we are not professionals. We have full-time jobs in which we fit the running of our team around our already hectic day-to-day schedules. Now I am the first to admit that when I was first ‘awarded’ the manager title I felt out of my depth. Granted, I had coached before but not six and seven-year-old children. I didn’t have a clue where to start. However, shortly after I struck gold.

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I am fortunate enough to be involved with a club that has many years experience when it comes to running a club at grassroots level. They had found a UEFA B licensed coach who was willing to help out and take a block of training sessions for whichever of our teams felt that they would benefit from some professional coaching. The fee was small, minimal when taking into account the small fee which we charge for training anyway, and all of my parents were willing to pay an additional £1 each to take up this opportunity.

I can’t stress enough how much this benefited everyone involved. The children learnt plenty and I picked up some invaluable tips that I feel have made me a better coach all-round. From how to treat the children in a manner that is fun but still gains respect, to drills and football related games which keep every child engaged at all times, hence stopping them from becoming bored.

I took this coach on for a four week block before our season began and it definitely helped my team prepare themselves from the massive step up involved from training to their first matches as grassroots players.

I can’t recommend this approach highly enough. The whole experience enabled the team to form a bond which perhaps I could not have achieved. I’m not a professional and neither, at least not yet, are any of the children. Getting help from one was a great experience and I would jump at the chance to do it again. It’s not a permanent thing, it’s almost a treat and the children loved every minute of it. Unfortunately for myself (not so much the man himself), the coach was snapped up by Manchester City shortly after to help run their new academy in China.

There’s no shame in asking for help. In fact, taking that jump does have major benefits for all involved.

Jamie Ward

Why can’t you reply to my texts??? A coaches frustration.

Ok, I’m not having a go, well I suppose I am kind of. Why is it when I send out a text, even a quite simple text I never seem to get replies and always end up chasing responses??

Last week things came to a head, I was contacted by another coach last monday from another club who requested a friendly played on thursday of last week which is a night we would not normally train. I sent the following text to all parents.

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“Hi, as discussed at the weekend we have been offered a friendly on thursday against XXXXXX. They are also moving from 7 – 9 aside so it will be good practice, please let me know asap so I can let them know and so I can juggle some things around at work”

Instantly I received 2 replies, on tuesday morning I received another reply. By tuesday lunch time I had received 3 of 12 replies. I sent another text tuesday afternoon saying “Please can you let me know by 7pm today if you can make it for thursday so I can let the other team know, cheers” I immediately received another 2 responses (5 of 12) and another response later.

By 7 pm I received 6 of 12 replies, knowingI needed at least 12 to play I rang the other coach and cancelled the thursday friendly.

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I was slightly embarrassed to inform the other coach that I had only had 6 of 12 replies, he said he had actually received less responses and it was every time he sent a message.

Then came wednesday training, I took the training as normal, after the training as always I sat the team down and was talking to the kids to which one of the parents (who hadn’t gave a reply) said

“So who we playing tomorrow night in this friendly”


At least it’s not just my team, haha

Its the end of the season, why am I busier now than ever?

Like many other coaches at grassroots junior football I was looking forward to the end of the season in May, a chance to put my feet up for a couple of months, spend some time with the rest of my family i.e. not just the one that I happen to coach and generally recharge my batteries before the start of the season.

So how come I suddenly feel like I am working harder than ever?

First up is the end of season awards, this varies club by club, ours we have a day of football followed by an evening presentation and probably like the majority of clubs, those who manage the team also seem to do everything else. That means, buy the awards, book the marquee, organise the entertainment, get in the food. closer to the day, its mark out the pitches, check we have enough volunteers to man the BBQ, who has the float? all this before we have to face the dreaded 5 mins of speeches at the actual awards.

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So, the end of season awards done, time to rest.. well no. Its now tournament season, so its find an event, book an event, again if your club hosts a tournament its a bit like groundhog day again, lining the pitches, organising the bbq etc etc.

Surely now its time to rest, well no as now comes the challenge of working out what players you will have, the likelihood is some will move on, so you have to be looking for a couple of replacement players and as you move through the age groups you are now faced with finding more players every season, your squad of 8 players which felt very comfortable at 5 a side suddenly feels a bit light when playing 7 a side. Where to get them from? How will they fit into the team? anyone got a left-footer?? All of these challenges can take up your time.

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The more diligent among us will be trying to spend some time reading up on new drills, or getting that next qualification to ensure that we are armed with fresh new ideas for our first day of training for the new season. Which may be July, before pre-season friendlies start in August ready for the season start in September.

Sorry coaches spouse it looks as though those jobs you’ve waited patiently all winter for us to do will have to wait a bit longer !!!

The life of a Grassroots Coach…

Standing in work and all I can think of is, what can I arrange for the kids? how can I help them? what sessions can I do? … gets to my lunch break and I still have a million ideas running through my head. . Biting into my sarnie with phone in other hand searching the Internet for ideas and info. ..making the phone calls I need to make and sending the texts out between every bite. ..

Get in from work. . Quick cuppa ( if I’m lucky ) change from work clothes to footy clothes. . Swap bag to holdall and go out the door loading the car and away I go. . ( can’t wait to eventually get home and have tea)

Some weeks are straight forward, some weeks it’s like the kids have just indulged in a bag full of sugar before arriving and even though I’m doing everything I can to make it fun and constant… it still seems more fun for little johnny to grab onto Peter and dive about the floor (constantly), for Steven to do the opposite of everything I’ve asked and for James to want to have a full on conversation with me about his whole day. . Step by step. Minute by minute!!

From start to end I hear “are we playing a match now? “

Quick chat with parents, ideas getting put forward for things we need, things we can do. . Subs to be collected. ..etc. .

Eventually home, see my kids , grab my tea and bed.. ready for the next day. .

Unless it’s a Friday night then I can’t sleep. . Team for next day ?? have they all got  minutes, will they all remember shinnys? have I packed a spare? Eat, breathe, sleep Grassroots football. .!!

Amongst the million other issues and paperwork that you have to sort, parents and children to deal with, meetings etc..

Would I change it? No way !!

Amongst it all. . To see a child achieve something whether it’s as an individual or whether it’s as a team with a smile on their face is the reason why all of the above ( and more) makes it all worth while. .

I’m proud to be a Grassroots Volunteer !!

I’m proud to be a Grassroots Coach !!

The 23rd Barrowford Celtic Youth Football Tournament 2017

Tournament Name:
The 23rd Barrowford Celtic Youth Football Tournament 2017

Tournament Organiser:
Paul Ashworth

Tournament Web Address:


Entry Fee:

Tournament Email Address:

Tournament Address:
8 Eden Close




Tournament Information:
The 23rd Barrowford Celtic Youth Football Tournament 2017 Info Sheet We are pleased to announce our summer junior football tournament for Saturday 3rd & Sunday 4th June 2017. This is an all-day tournament; refreshments will be available to purchase throughout the day.

The tournament will be held at Bullholme Playing Fields, Barrowford, BB9 8PU and the adjacent Swinden Playing Fields, Nelson, BB9 8SJ, Lancashire.

The cost of entry is £30 for U9 & U10, £35 for U11 & U12, £40 for U13 & U14. Max two teams per club for each age group. Age groups present season 2016/17. All teams to be County registered. No academy teams allowed or players allowed. All teams must have played in a grass roots league, season 2016/17, league player ID cards will be required at registration to verify player eligibility.

U9s – Saturday 3rd June (7 a-side) max registered players 12.

U10s – Sunday 4th June (7 a-side) max registered players 12.

U11s – Saturday 3rd June (9 a-side) max registered players 13.

U12s – Sunday 4th June (9 a-side) max registered players 13.

U13s – Saturday 3rd June (11 a-side) max registered players 16.

U14s – Sunday 4th June (11 a-side) max registered players 16.

U13s Girls – Saturday 3rd June (6 a-side) max registered players 10.

U15s Girls – Sunday 4th June (6 a-side) max registered players 10.

For an Entry Form and further details contact: Paul Ashworth Mobile: 07855874555 E-mail: info@barrowfordceltic.org.uk Cheques made payable to Barrowford Celtic Bank transfer details: Sort Code: 05-03-83, Account Number: 34594615, please put name of team and age group in reference area. Closing Date: 12th May 2017 Fully sanctioned by the FA All teams will get as much playing time as possible and allowed by FA guidelines, with waiting times and times between games kept to a minimum. Competition format (if all places filled): 12 teams per age group, divided into 2 leagues, top 2 in each group go through into the Cup semi final, 3rd and 4th progress into the Shield, and 5th and 6th into the Plate. Fair play award for each age group. The tournament committee reserve the right to modify the format of the competition at any time.

Club Secretary


Paul Ashworth


The Dangers of Copycat Coaching by FA talent technical coach Gavin Step

Gavin Step, FA talent technical coach, outlines the dangers of copycat coaching and offers examples of how to tailor coaching sessions to individual players.

Never before have football coaches had access to as many ‘off the shelf’ coaching sessions.  Through social media and the internet a huge volume of ideas exist to inform practice design.

The challenge with these sessions is how to deliver the content to meet the needs of individual players. With generic sessions it is unlikely that the whole group will benefit to the same level as if the session was individualised.

Does the girl attending her first football session have the same needs as the boy who has been playing for three years? Does the youth international full-back have the same needs as the centre midfielder returning from injury? For each player in the session it’s important to ask: what’s the point of it?

It goes without saying that the best coaches plan their sessions with learning objectives and outcomes at their core.  Additionally, I have seen some really thoughtful examples of coaches who plan individual learning objectives for every player in their squad.

However, I’ve often wondered what this looks like on the grass.  During a 60-90 minute session, is it realistic for a coach to facilitate and achieve the learning objectives for the session along with 16 individualised learning objectives? Even with the support of an assistant coach, this can prove challenging.

Yet, it is vital that we consider the specific requirements of our players when planning and delivering. Some good examples from clubs I work with include players being set individual targets at the start of a coaching block that remain for the duration of that period of work.

Targets are written, laminated and present at all coaching sessions. On the whole, it is the player’s responsibility to ensure they are working towards their individual target, session on session. The role of the coach is to design practices that allow the player to explore and develop their specific target. What they do not do is set a new target week after week, hoping to achieve these every new hour of work they have with their players.

When I work with players, I list both session objective and success criteria.  Along with what I plan on focusing on, I list criteria I think will help the players successfully achieve the session objective. These will be displayed on either a whiteboard or flipchart. For example:

Session Objective


Help the team progress and penetrate through the thirds

Success Criteria

1) You will make forward passes with quality through defensive lines
2) You will travel with control and composure through defensive lines
3) You will make positive runs ahead of the ball to support teammates

Session Objective


Display resilience when faced with a challenging situation in training

Success Criteria

1) You will use positive language to yourself and with others
2) You will display positive body language
3) You will encourage others when they find the ‘going gets tough’

Players are tasked to select one or more of the success criteria to focus on for the session.They commit to this by initialling and signing against it.

Sometimes I use subtle questioning to lead players towards an objective I feel they may benefit from focusing on.Sometimes I tell a player what I think they should work on.  Other times I say nothing at all.  This could be described as player-centred coaching within coach-determined parameters. To support the players’ learning, I list success criteria that helps guide the players towards the outcomes I hope they will achieve.  With time, players can generate their own criteria.  They suggest what they think they must do to successfully achieve the session objective.

The success criteria are the hooks that I return to within the session. Reminding the players of the session focus and specific elements they have committed to work on at the outset of the session.  This supports them to achieve what I have planned and intended for them to learn.  When I reflect on what is the point of my session, the players themselves drive the individual targets as to what they feel the point of the session has been for them.

In designing individual challenges, I propose a menu of choice and it is up to the player to select the focus of their work.

Gavin Step is an FA talent technical coach working in the women’s game.