How We Coach

Coach – The Importance Of Mistakes

Coach – Developing, Maintaining, And Strengthening Self-Belief

Coach – What Is Confidence And How Does It Affect Our Play

Coach – The Need For Rest And Recovery

Coach – Using Observations And Challenges

Coach – Defining The Learning

Scheduling, Planning, Delivering

Each session should have:

  • 15 mins inside to share idea behind session
  • 60 mins delivery
  • 15 mins inside to reflect, confirm, and/or clarify

DNA Coaching Fundamentals 

  • Use a positive and enthusiastic manner with players at all times
  • Deliver realistic game-related practices
  • Use games whenever possible in training giving the players time to practice and extend learning
  • Develop practices that enable the players to make lots of decisions
  • Connect with the players before the session outlining the aims, objectives and specific targets
  • Connect, activate, demonstrate and consolidate in every session
  • Value and work equally across the FA Four Corner model
  • Spend equal time delivering, planning and reviewing
  • Include elements of transition in all practices and sessions where possible
  • Use a carousel approach to practice design maximising playing time
  • Use varied coaching styles based on the needs of the individuals and group
  • Aim for a minimum of 70% ball rolling time in all sessions

DNA Extended Coaching Fundamentals

  1. Create an environment where your players feel able to try things without worrying about making mistakes, to be able to experiment without fear.
  2. Particularly, but not only, at the youngest age groups get our players on the ball. Have a ball per player at every session and make time for them to play and experiment with the ball.
  3. Use the playing by numbers system, it can be applied to all game formats and coaching styles, if you want more info just ask.
  4. Let the players play, let them experiment with roles and positions, and observe rather than instruct. The game will teach them if you let it.

Notes:

  1. The first, and perhaps the most important, building block is to create the right environment for learning. To strive towards excellence demands that we are not afraid of failure, in fact without failure we cannot move forward towards success. The path to excellence should be a constant loop of “try – fail – practise – succeed”. If we, the coaches, are not able to stay positive when things don’t work out the way we expected or hoped for then how can we convince the players that the right thing to do is to keep playing, experimenting, practising and learning.
  2. It is absolutely critical that from the outset our young players become comfortable with the ball. The players currently in the youth team all come from a background of being “good with the ball”, they have all been allowed and encouraged to spend time on the ball, with the ball, and have been supported whilst they have experimented with mastery of the ball.
  3. Playing by numbers has enabled the breaking of traditional views of the game and means that we can be specific about what our system requires rather than what someones Dad/Mum/Grandad/etc thinks that they should be doing in certain positions. This has proved a great aid to coaching and learning.
  4. Rotation of positions from an early age and our equal playing time policy is vital when it comes to helping the players find the place in the system that suits them best. It is crucial that we don’t put players into roles or positions based on size or speed and/or the needs of a team to “win a match”.

Character Traits And Their Relationship To Game Roles

This information relates to a Playing System that evolved from the development programme followed by a squad of young players at a semi-professional club for 8 years taking them from Under 12’s through to the club’s Under 21’s.

The important thing to note is that we are not talking about a playing formation in the traditional sense. During the programme the squad worked within two fundamental learning principles:

  • firstly all outfield players rotated through all outfield roles or positions to enable the development of a deeper understanding of the demands of the game and it’s players
  • secondly the squad used and gained experience of all of the usual formations with the aim being to give the players a holistic view of the tactical elements of the game in the hope that, eventually the positioning taken by, and decided by, the players was sufficient to ensure that we were able to implement our game principles in a way that suited the current state of the game whatever that may be.

As the lead coach responsible for this development programme I found that after using all of the normal playing formations, trying to move forward by following or choosing a single playing system that was suitable to allow the implementation of our adopted game principles felt too restrictive and did not leave enough scope for the players to be inventive.

To encourage or enable the players to get the most out of the programme, maintain the inquisitiveness and enjoyment that goes with real learning, and develop players capable of playing the game in an inventive, creative manner, it was crucial to create a positive, safe, fun environment and to have a structure to our games without placing barriers around, or restrictions on, the players. With the primary game principle being to try to dominate possession the decision was taken to use a base structure of 1-4-2-3-1 and ensure that the lack of restrictions on the players allowed them to move, adapt the structure, and outnumber opponents as they saw fit in order to dominate possession of the ball and, usually, the game.

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It is important to note that the labels used, stability, mobility, and fluidity, are not necessarily positions or units within the team. They are really descriptions of the observed personality traits or characteristics of the players with these observations being made over a long period of time. These observations are then used to try to place players in areas of the team where they are able to relax and enjoy their game. It’s definitely not about trying to put people into roles or coach players to play in roles that are decided for them. It is about allowing the players to find their own way to a role that suits them and maintains their desire to play and love of the game.

 

To be able to make these observations, to be able to get to the point where this system of play becomes usable requires a number of “building blocks” to be put in place and a patient, long-term approach to player development.

 

It is absolutely critical that from the outset our young players become comfortable with the ball. The players currently in the youth team all come from a background of being “good with the ball”, they have all been allowed and encouraged to spend time on the ball, with the ball, and have been supported whilst they have experimented with mastery of the ball.

 

Plea 1 – particularly, but not only, at the youngest age groups get our players on the ball. Have a ball per player at every session and make time for them to play and experiment with the ball.

 

Playing by numbers has enabled the breaking of traditional views of the game and means that we can be specific about what our system requires rather than what someones Dad/Mum/Grandad/etc thinks that they should be doing in certain positions. This has proved a great aid to coaching and learning.

 

Plea 2 – use the playing by numbers system, it can be applied to all game formats and coaching styles, if you want more info just ask.

 

Rotation of positions from an early age and our equal playing time policy is vital when it comes to helping the players find the place in the system that suits them best. It is crucial that we don’t put players into roles or positions based on size or speed and/or the needs of a team to “win a match”.

 

Plea 3 – let the players play, let them experiment with roles and positions, and observe rather than instruct. The game will teach them if you let it.

 

The final, and perhaps the most important, building block is to create the right environment for learning. To strive towards excellence demands that we are not afraid of failure, in fact without failure we cannot move forward towards success. The path to excellence should be a constant loop of “try – fail – practise – succeed”.

 

If we, the coaches, are not able to stay positive when things don’t work out the way we expected or hoped for then how can we convince the players that the right thing to do is to keep playing, experimenting, practising and learning.

 

Plea 4 – create an environment where your players feel able to try things without worrying about making mistakes, to be able to experiment without fear.

 

Finally it’s worth mentioning again that this is not about a playing formation that can just be implemented to make your team play better. The building blocks are vital, if they aren’t in place then time should be spent on them, and it’s also important if you want to use this system that you also share the game principles that it’s based on.