Youth Development Phase we create a positive and enjoyable learning environment which prioritises skill development and decision-making. We look to develop and consolidate more realistic passing, game understanding and positioning without the ball. Young players shouldn’t be benchmarked against adult professional players.
We encourage players to:
- Reflect on their effectiveness in practice and games.
- Think about how they may improve next time.
- Become more effective ‘off the ball’.
- Develop an understanding of movement to support team-mates.
- Create and exploit space
- Develop scanning, predicting and assessing skills to form a ‘picture’ before receiving the ball.
We create an environment where:
- Receiving and possession practices which create appropriate pressure, interference and distraction will help young players develop their awareness and game understanding.
- The 6 phases of the game are introduced, attacking when opponents are ‘in balance’ and ‘out of balance’; defensive play whilst ‘in balance’ and ‘out of balance’; the finishing phase and goalkeeping.
- Players will begin to recognise the significance of practice sessions to their role within the team.
- Some specific positional practices are introduced as appropriate which is balanced with experience playing and practising in different positions.
- The team/player and the coach discuss realistic and achievable challenges and goals to work towards.
Coaches should consistently try to:
- Prioritise a positive learning environment, ensuring methods and content are made appropriate to the age and ability of the players in this age-range.
- Reinforce learning focus from practice sessions on match day.
- Set players specific challenges that link to the theme of a recent practice session, which can be discussed at half-time and after the game
- Allow all players to experience success.
- Remember that young players don’t enjoy being shouted at, having their mistakes highlighted or having to stop playing the game to listen to the coach talk at length.
- Consider how their decisions will impact upon a young player’s self-esteem, motivation and enjoyment of the game.
- Praise effort and positive behaviour as well as good play.
- Ensure that children enjoy playing the game, young players should not miss out on the opportunities to learn and fall in love with the game.
- Avoid letting the children’s arena become dominated by adults and imposing unrealistic adult expectations on young players.