3. What coaching themes should I prioritise with my new team/age-group?
If you’re working with a new team for the first time it’s really important to spend time getting to know the players. Likewise, it’s a good time for them to get to know you and your coaching approach.
Setting clear expectations and communicating your coaching philosophy is a great way to do this. This should also be done with the players’ and their parents/carers.
In terms of the technical themes to focus on, there’s lots of great advice for coaches working with young players in the England DNA Foundation Phase resource.
Also, trust the practices and sessions you already know and have engaged with your players. Even if you’re working with the same group as last season, look at ways of tweaking and changing the sessions you know in order to increase the challenge – see more below.
4. How do I include all of the players in my session?
In every session there will be those who are striving ahead and those who are struggling to keep up. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to exclude any of the players from part of a practice.
Through clever practice design and the use of individual challenges, all of the players in your group should be able to take part in all of your session activities.
Applying the STEP principle is a great way to do this. Think about how you can tweak the Space, Task, Equipment or Players to make the practice easier or harder, ensuring the group are engaged and motivated.
Read more about the STEP principle by clicking here.
5. What formations should I use with my new team?
It’s vital that young players have the opportunity to play in lots of different formations and positions as they learn the game.
It’s very difficult to predict which players will play in what position when they’re older and they should all be given the opportunity to develop their understanding of a wide variety of positions.
Many formations in the modern 11v11 game are fluid and require players to understand how to operate in different areas of the pitch, and no doubt there will be even more change to systems and formations in the future. Therefore it’s crucial you give your players a varied education of formations and positions.
You can find out how to help young players move from 7v7 to 9v9 and 11v11 football by watching this session.
The above questions were taken from discussions in The FA Coaching Community on HIVE. Join the debate here.