Linked to our four key areas, here are some practical ways to create a good learning environment.
Working with parents often generates lively debate amongst coaches. But by including them, you can tap into an excellent source of support.
Start by communicating your learning objectives. Try outlining what a successful session might look like – or get your players to do it for you. This helps keep everyone on the same page.
Give your players ownership
Take a step back and let your team take charge.
We all remember ‘Wembley doubles’ and ‘headers and volleys’. Let your players bring games like these to training. Or, let them play large-numbered matches, where they select sides and lay down the rules – just like in the playground.
By handing over ownership, you create the freedom of a real game. This gives your players the confidence to develop and try new skills.
A tournament is a great opportunity for players to experience competitive football.
It’s a whole season’s worth of football crammed into one day. Plus, you get to play against various levels of opposition – a perfect learning opportunity.
During tournaments, it’s easy for emotions to take over. So, before the day starts, work together to define what success looks like. And stick to it.
Mix up your surface
Imagine a ball zipping across a 4G, bouncing through a sports hall or bobbling across the grass. Three very different textures – and three very different opportunities for players to put their skills to the test.
Varying the hardness of your surface offers interesting returns too. For example, when your team play on a solid pitch (like concrete or sand-based AstroTurf), they’ll be keen to stay on their feet. So, compared to playing on grass, you’ll probably see more interceptions and standing tackles.
By adding variety, you’ll teach your team how to adapt their skills to different in-game problems.
To learn more about mixing up your surface, check out this Coachcast episode with Danny Fenner.