Tag: the FA

3 points at what cost !! Will I sacrifice player participation for the win…..

I never wrote a match report on Saturday!

Why ?

Because I was more interested in the physiological effect the 3 points would impact on me as coach. I always revisit games for days afterwards in my head.

The what if’s, the buts, the why’s and when’s. How can I help the children for next week. Unlike any other week this week was extra important. I needed to ask myself what impact the 3 points had over being fair.

Did the win sacrifice player participation? Luckily the answer is No. But it quite easily could have. I learnt of the added pressure for 3 points. Why ? Parent pressure, league pressure, team/club rivalry. Ex coaches showing their abundance of trophies at that level.

The only people not to accept any pressure is the children. They just want to play football and have fun, right ? If I was guilty of one thing it was taking the ownership away from the kids. I pigeon holed them into their best positions, I got lost in the environment and focused on 3 points. Do I feel great for it ? No and neither do the kids.

Download the Grassroots Report It APP Here

They don’t care about the 3 points. Don’t get me wrong wanting to win is perfectly natural, but kids would rather play and lose than warm the bench and win Roll on next week, back to full player ownership.

Athletes learn by doing, not by watching ! Don’t deprive children the opportunity to learn. Once the 3 points take priority excluding and demoralising a child in the process by turning them into part playing bench warmers it’s time to step down as a coach and go home.




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

FA Announcement – 32 Grassroots Leagues to trial Sin Bins this Season


The Football Association has today announced the 32 grassroots leagues that will trial Temporary Dismissals – more commonly known as ‘sin bins’ – during the 2017-18 season.

From Step 7 of the National League system and below 130 grassroots leagues registered an interest in the pilot scheme and a mixture of male, female, adult, youth, Saturday and Sunday leagues across the country have been chosen to take part.

The scheme was originally conceived following a decision by the International Football Association Board [IFAB] which gave National Associations the ability to implement sin bins at grassroots level.

Whilst given discretion whether to use the scheme for all cautions, or selected cautions, The FA chose to focus on matters of dissent, which amounted to 25 per cent of all cautions during the 2016-17 season and directly supports the Respect programme.

It is anticipated that the pilot scheme will deal with misconduct on the day, result in fewer cautions for dissent overall and improve match-day experiences, not only for referees, but for all involved in the game.

Mark Ives, FA head of judicial services, said: “I am encouraged by the level of enthusiasm from County FA’s, leagues, clubs and referees and in their collective commitment to make a difference to our great game at a local level.

“I look forward to seeing a positive impact during the course of the season.”

The leagues below have been selected:

• Anglian Combination League • Jersey Football Combination
• Army Football League Massey • JJ Jones Builders Duchy League
• Birmingham & District Football League • Liverpool County FA Premier League
• Bolton, Bury & District Football League • Mid Sussex Football League
• Chester & Wirral Football League • Mid Sussex Youth & Minor Football League
• Cumberland County League • Midwest Counties Female
• Devon and Exeter Football League • North Staffs Youth League
• Dorset Premier League • Nottinghamshire Senior Football League
• Durham County Women’s • Notts. Amateur Alliance
• Evesham & District Sunday Football League • Peterborough & District Football League
• Gloucestershire County Women’s League • Potteries & District Sunday League
• Gloucestershire Northern Senior League • Sevenoaks and District Football League
• Hertfordshire Senior County League • Sheffield & District Junior Sunday League
• Hitchin Sunday League • Southern Amateur League
• Surrey Primary Youth League • Trelawny League
• Taunton & District Saturday League • Warrington Sunday Football League

Fancy a job – The FA Apprenticeship Programme 2017/18

Apprenticeship Programme 2017/18

Duration: 12 months
Start date: Autumn 2017

Please note that the closing date for applications is midnight, 16th July 2017.

Our Organisation:

Here at The FA we are responsible for overseeing, promoting and developing English football at all levels, from grassroots through to the professional game. We are passionate about making football accessible ‘For All’, made possible by talented people across a variety of business areas.

We have big ambitions. Ensuring The Emirates FA Cup, which provides fans across the country with memories that will last a lifetime, remains the world’s premier cup competition; that Wembley Stadium and St. George’s Park continue to be two world-class venues we are proud to call home, and achieving success with each of our 24 national sides are all among our objectives.

Why you should apply:

We see our apprenticeship programme as a gateway into a career at The FA, and moreover, an opportunity to gain experience in a real job within a multifaceted organisation. From day one, you will be involved in a range of projects which are vital to the development and success of English football; you will quickly learn how our business works and gain skills that will both kick start your career, and help you to achieve your ambitions in years to come. Your professional and personal development is important to us, and we are committed to supporting your on-the-job training alongside your formal qualifications. If you are looking for a challenging apprenticeship within a progressive, motivating and supportive environment, the Football Association is the place for you.

What you’ll be doing:

Our apprenticeship programme is broad and we have opportunities in a range of business areas, based at Wembley Stadium and St. George’s Park, near Burton-upon-Trent. Please follow this link to find out more about the business areas you could be working within: http://www.thefa.com/about-football-association/careers/about-the-fa/.

Who we are looking for:

While you will need at least three A-Levels (or equivalent) at Grade C or above, we are looking for you to have standout interpersonal, teamwork and organisational skills, with a level of drive and motivation that sets you apart from others. Our values are extremely important to us, and we expect you to be an ambassador of these. You may be surprised to know that being a football fan is not a prerequisite of working for the FA. What’s more important is your passion, interest and commitment to the varied work that we do, and the objectives that we are aiming to achieve.

How you apply:

If you are as excited about our apprenticeship programme as we are, and wish to apply, please click the ‘Apply now’ button below. There are a number of stages to the recruitment process, however don’t let this put you off – this process is a chance for you to assess us as a potential employer too.

Stage 1: You will be asked to complete an application form; here you should tell us about you and your skills, interests and qualifications, as well as your motivations for applying for our apprenticeship programme.

Stage 2: Once you have submitted your application form, you will receive an email to complete some online tests. This will give us some further insight into how you fit with our behaviours and values.

Stage 3: The next stage of the recruitment process will be a video interview. This will be your opportunity to tell us more about you and why you would like to join our apprenticeship scheme.

Stage 4: If you are shortlisted for this stage, you will be invited to attend a group assessment day at Wembley Stadium in August. This will be an opportunity for you to find out more about working as an apprentice at The FA, and for us to meet you, and see how you perform in a range of exercises. At this stage, we will give you an insight into the different roles that we have available and you will be asked to give your preference.

Stage 5: This is the final stage of the process, where you will be invited to attend an assessment session with your potential manager and someone else from the team. By the end of this stage we could make you an offer of one of our apprenticeship opportunities, starting in autumn 2017.

Please note that the closing date for applications is midnight, 16th July 2017.

The Football Association Group promotes inclusion and diversity, and welcomes applications from everyone. If you have any particular requirements in respect of the recruitment or interview process please mention this in your covering letter.

Apply http://jobs.thefa.com/jobs_apply/vacancies/1135/apply/

More vacancies at the FA HERE

The FA Girls Football Week 16/7 – 6/8 Are you taking part?

FA Girls’ Football Week is a national campaign aimed at raising the profile of female football and supporting the FAs aim of doubling the number of women and girls playing football by 2020.

Over 130,000 girls took part in sessions delivered in schools, universities, colleges, clubs, community groups and other organisations across the country in 2016.

Find a session
Visit www.FAGirlsFootballWeek.com
Enter your postcode
Select an activity near you

During FA Girls’ Football Week the whole country gears up to encourage football activities for girls which can include playing, training or even just learning more about the beautiful game.

Organisations can register their on-going activities as part of the week, or maybe even start something brand new to kick-start girls’ football.

The week is a great opportunity to showcase female football at every level and inspire new players and volunteers.
Many of the activities delivered during the week are based on our online guides, which provide advice on ensuring all activities are fun and safe for everyone involved, maximizing enjoyment and minimising risk.

This year FA Girls’ Football Week will run between 16 July and 6 August to coincide with England’s involvement in Euro 2017.

It will be an opportunity to support the Lionesses’ Euro campaign and get even more girls playing football this summer.

To get involved please register your activity at FAGirlsFootballWeek.com and tell us your plans for your Euro celebrations.

Once registered you will have access to all of our online resources.

If you have any questions, please e-mail Info@FAGirlsFootballWeek.com.

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 FAs guide to managing Grassroots football

So you’ve got the job. You’re the gaffer.

Whether you’re a budding Mourinho or a reluctant volunteer you’ve got the responsibility of managing the team.

You might have a detailed five-year strategy or just a few stinky bibs and some flat footballs but hopefully this resource will provide you with a few pointers in the art and science of running a grassroots (amateur Saturday or Sunday) team.

Download, share or print the guide – which features a foreword from FA technical director Dan Ashworth, and advice on tactics, training sessions, team administration and keeping players fit by clicking HERE

FA release results of largest ever Grassroots Survey


A record feedback figure has been collated by The FA in the latest Grassroots Football Survey.

Now in its second year, the survey took in the views of over 30,000 people, including players, coaches, referees, staff and volunteers, topping the total of number of respondents from last year in the process.

And The FA’s director of participation and development, Kelly Simmons, has thanked those who took the time to provide invaluable feedback.

Grassroots Football Survey 

  • Participants: 30,161
  • 14% – People involved in the grassroots game are negative towards their County FA
  • 27% – Coaches are positive about the opportunities they have to progress than they were a year ago
  • 24% – Adult female players feel supported by their County FA
  • 34% – Grassroots players aged 55+ currently play walking football

“We are very grateful to all the people who took time to complete the questionnaire,” said Simmons.

“It provides both The FA and CFAs with invaluable insight, helping shape and prioritise investment and services into the grassroots game.

“The FA invests £50m per annum into the grassroots game and the survey helps to shape FA priorities for all those with key roles in the grassroots game from coaches, referees, club and league officials and general volunteers who make football happen week in and week out.

“We can see how social media is playing its part in how people access and consume information about the game at this level, how people are utilising the smaller sided format rather than the traditional 11 v 11 game, and how people are incorporating other sports into their weekly football fix.”

The survey found that many in the grassroots community still aren’t fully utilising the services their County FA has to offer, with only half (49 per cent) aware that their County can offer advice and funding for facility development.

The availability of good quality Artificial Grass Pitches (AGP) is increasingly important to those in the grassroots game with 63 per cent of those involved in the grassroots game citing them as a priority, compared to 56 per cent last year; good news for those communities set to become the beneficiaries of Parklife schemes next year in Liverpool and west London respectively.

The increasing ascendance of the women’s game is reflected too. Adult female players feel better supported (24 per cent) than their male counterparts (14 per cent) and a greater proportion from the grassroots game would prefer to hear about both the men and women’s senior national teams combined (20 per cent) than just the men’s alone (12 per cent).

There is, however, still work to do in other areas of the diversity agenda; black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) participants are less likely to find their County either accessible (33 per cent) or inclusive than non-BAME participants (43 per cent). This is an area The FA is working hard to address.

“It is the responsibility of The FA both centrally and County FAs to ensure everyone, irrespective of race, gender, sexuality, faith and every other of the protected characteristics, has the same positive experience,” added Simmons.

“More than ever, we’re committed to the philosophy of For All and making sure everyone has the opportunity to be involved in the game at whatever level, and in whatever capacity, they wish to participate at.”

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.


Have fun, make friends, play football

The Football Association and SSE have teamed up to launch a new initiative in 2017, SSE Wildcats, designed to inspire girls aged between 5-11 to be involved in the sport.

SSE Wildcats Girls’ Football Clubs provide girls with regular opportunities to play football and take part in organised sessions in a fun and engaging environment created exclusively for girls. 200 clubs have been established across England throughout the spring and summer.*

The sessions take place on a weekly basis, either after school or at weekends, subject to the local organiser. They will provide a safe environment where girls with no football experience can; have fun engaging with sport, develop fundamental skills, try a variety of sessions, learn new things and create foundations for a lifelong love of sport.

Alongside the football for girls activities, there will also be opportunities for the attending parents, carers and siblings to engage with sport in ‘Family Sessions’, e.g. Soccercise/Walking football at the same time.

Each SSE Wildcats club will be run in conjunction with local County FAs and utilising qualified coaches and local facilities to offer girls a location nearby where they can get involved.

SSE Wildcats has been established in partnership with SSE, supporters of girls’ football participation and sponsor of the SSE Women’s FA Cup, with support from UEFA, FIFA and The Youth Sport Trust.



How to prevent scorelines of 13-0, 19-1 and 27-0 in youth football was the subject of a recent blog by Jack Walton, FA regional coach development manager.

In the article, Jack stresses the importance of creating competitive balance in youth football to ensure an enjoyable, equal and beneficial learning experience for all involved.
Here, we asked Jack for his 5 top tips for coaches to use to prevent mismatched fixtures.

Continue reading “WHO BENEFITS IF YOU WIN 13-0?”


Managing player behaviour

Understanding what young players want from their grassroots football experience can help prevent poor behaviour, writes FA county coach developer, Mike Antrobus.

Poor player behaviour at training or matchday is often caused by boredom, the desire for attention, or the practice activity being pitched too hard or easy.