Grassroots english coaching course compared to ours


Grassroots english coaching course compared to ours

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grazorblade
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England have a participation rate of 14 million. I remember us boasting about a participation rate of 1 million, apparently we are now around 2. Adjusted per capita we are achieving parity at around a participation rate of 6 million. I don’t think we can underestimate the effect of this


England desire to have 1 in 25 players trained at least at the free level


Surprisingly, the grassroots level coaching training, imo, is inferior to ours, but interestingly they provide a lot of videos for parents and kids for stuff to practice at home. Walking home the other day there were a bunch of kids doing wall exercises at the pub. The difference between a good youth coach and bad youth coach might be 600 touches per session per kid (as opposed to 100 touches from a bad youth coach). However, a motivated kid can have easily 10 times that many touches at home in a week. In my opinion this feature of English development drowns the advantage we get from better coaching.That advantage in youth development is before you get to the larger participation rate and player pathways



Summary of the English volunteer level course:


After some training on edi and communication that looks like a skit from the it crowd (imagine something to the level of “which is bad body language” and it is a smiling person verse a middle finger. I’m sure our hr stuff is just as bad) we get to the football specific stuff


The structure of a training session is actually to begin with a football game and add rules one at a time to isolate areas of improvement. This contrasts to the ntc where the game is at the end and you apply what you learn. After the game you have a series of exercises and, like the ntc, they give practice sessions for each age group. Unlike the ntc, the youngest age group is 5-11 years old, whereas we have a game discovery phase from 5-9 and a skills acquisition phase from 10-13.


The first part about the football match is a weirdly complicated part about designing the dimensions of the pitch. There are 3x2x2 shaped pitches


Wide v narrow

Large v small

Triangle v circle v rectangle


And you are explained the rationale behind each dimension. Large courts are apparently better for tired players, round courts for players who struggle to keep possession and narrow for those who lack confidence in attack. It was as complicated as quantum physics and surprising that this was in the volunteers course as it seemed more appropriate at the pro level. Unsurprisingly I haven’t seen any youth coaches here do anything but use a rectangular court which is the same size each week. 


The examples or rules are good - everyone has to touch it before scoring, maximum of 3 touches each etc, can only tackle after a player has taken 2 touches etc. I just object to the game being at the start rather than the end because the players can’t apply what they learnt. You are also advised that if there are enough players for 3 teams, have one of the teams sit out and rotate (I’ve seen this a lot and am not a fan of kids sitting around in training (!!!) Have them do something with a ball on the side). 


Here are the full list of practice sessions for 5-11 year olds


  1. everyone have ball in one team and they have to dribble around and shield the ball while the other team gets a point if they touch the ball with their hands (why not feet?)
  2. Teams of two need to run around passing to each other while a 3rd person tries to intercept. The third person also has to dribble a ball at their feet while trying to intercept (good)
  3. Piggy in the middle (good!)
  4. Game of tag without the ball (why? (!!!!!))
  5. Dribble balls from pirate ships to an island while another tries to stop them by tackling (great! Age appropriate fun and fantasy with a ball at the feet and a small number of players)
  6. Same but with a second player to pass to (great!)
  7. Everyone told to dribble the ball and show off. Everytime a player does a trick the coach yells praise (this is ok. A ball at feet, teaches creativity but every kid knew one trick and did it repeatedly. I modified this by playing monkey see monkey do. Donkey kong gets to do tricks while everyone imitates. Every player gets 2 minutes to be donkey kong. This means kids keep practice having their eyes up and also learn from each other)
  8. Next juggling practice (good)
  9. Next dribble around until the coach shouts “change!” Then leave your ball and find another. Then the exercise is repeated with the coach raising their hand instead of shouting change so that the kids practice keeping their eyes up (good)
  10. 1v1 or 2v1 keep ball off the partner while dribbling (good)
  11. Next is line defense. 3 defenders are restricted to a line and 3 dribblers dribble past the line (good! Though I prefer 2v2 to increase the touches slightly)
  12. 3 teams of 2 with 3 goals and each team has one goal to defend and 2 goals to score in (good!)
  13. 3v3 where one team has 2 small goals in the corners and one team has a big goal in the center (fine)
  14. Same but 6v6 with a bigger pitch
  15. Gauntlet where you have 1 defender in three zones and attackers have to run through the zones without getting tagged (no ball!!!!)
  16. Same but with a ball (good I like this exercize and have since used it but skipped the ball free version)
  17. 2 pitches with 2 goals and 6v6. You have to win on both pitches to win the game (fine)
  18. 6v6 but if you pass the ball backwards it is counted as a goal against you (maybe?)
  19. Boxers v chasers. You get a point if you make it from one box to another without a chaser tagging you (no ball!)
  20. Same game with a ball



You then end the session with a discussion session. I actually dig this and have started doing this. You goad the kids to give each other as many compliments as you can trying to make sure your weaker players are also getting compliments



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For those who want to compare our grassroots coaching to theirs look at the sample sessions here for the game development phase
https://www.footballaustralia.com.au/sites/ffa/files/2017-09/FFA%20National%20Curriculum_1ma6qrmro1pyq10gzxo5rcn7ld.pdf

as well as the miniroos course. I think ours are much better

However, I really like the videos for kids, siblings and parents to do at home

There is this brilliant site full of free videos (hopefully not geoblocked) for all levels of coaching https://www.youtube.com/@EnglandFootballLearning

and here are some at home exercizes

https://www.youtube.com/@EnglandFootballLearning/search?query=home (look for #footballsStayingHome)

Here are some great wall exercizes (guy has an american accent)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJGHMjrHU3c

saw kids doing this agains the pub wall. Kids are playing all the time with family and we should probably produce some fun things kids can do at home with parents, or by themselves since the amount of touches dwarfs what you can get in training


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Fa promoted their session plan where you start with a game (say 3v3) then an intervention where you teach a skill then finish with a game

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEpCKzz7h6E

the acronym is GIG, game intervention, game. It is in contrast with the old national curriculum v2 from 2014 where the majority of sample sessions were not games and there was just a game at the end
GO


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