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England DNA 5-11: hand to hand

    To stay on the ball, players need to feel confident that their body and technique will ‘hold up’. This is especially true in pressurised situations that involve physical contact.

    You can provide support by helping your team to develop good core muscles. This session, 'Hand to hand', is a great example of age-appropriate strength work. It demands strength, coordination and teamwork – and is an enjoyable warm-up for young players. 

    Hand to hand


    Session plan

    In the video, the coach has a squad of 14 players. Below, you can see how he splits them into four groups of three and one group of two.

    DNA Foundation Phase session plan

    How to play

    On “go”, the players have to stay in the ‘plank’ position and alternately touch their teammate’s right and left hand. The number of times they have to do this can be changed depending on the age of the players. Once the set amount has been completed, the players rotate positions so everyone gets to lead on the activity.

    You’ll see that the players are at different stages in their ability to maintain good posture. This is fine, as you can work on this over time. To begin with, introduce the activity with fun and competition as the most important elements. Then, once you have good engagement, begin to ‘tweak’ the posture of each player.

    The role of the coach is to create an enjoyable, competitive environment where the strength work is almost hidden from the players.


    To learn more about Foundation Phase DNA, click here.

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