• Bogdan Paval

Player development

We follow a player-centred approach based around the four corner model of learning and the theory of ‘Long Term Player Development’.

The Four Corner Model


- Players should be encouraged to try new skills in practice and work out where & when they can be used in a game.

- Where appropriate (age & experience dependant), practice should replicate the demands of the game, encouraging players to think and make decisions just as they would in a match.

- Vary the difficulty to match the needs of each individual, by altering the Space, Task, Equipment or Players (STEP).

- The interruption by the coaches should be kept to a minimum to allow players experience the flow of the game and practice. Where interruption is necessary, it should be relevant and positive.


- Appropriate movement skills which develop agility, balance, co-ordination and speed should be encouraged through enjoyable games such as tag.

- Through well designed practice, all coaching activities should include physical outcomes.

- Remember players grow at different rates and may need support and patience as they develop, both at the start of their playing careers and when they reach puberty.

- Children are not mini-adults and shouldn’t be subjected to laps of the pitch or press-ups.


- Recognise that different children learn best with different learning methods and ensure that all methods are used when communicating instructions.

Visual (seeing): Tactics boards, posters, diagrams, cue and prompt cards, as well as cones on the pitch.

Auditory (hearing): Speak with players, ask questions, encourage discussions in groups amongst the players to solve game-related problems.

Kinaesthetic (doing): Demonstration to the team by the coach or by a player to their team-mates.


- Create a positive and welcoming environment.

- Be a good role model for the players.

- Praise players for their efforts as well as their ability.

- Manage mistakes to the player’s advantage – understand what they were trying to do. Sometimes they will have the right idea but just fail in the execution of the technique or the skill. This could be used to identify training needs.

- Create a positive and welcoming environment.

- Make sure football is fun, but with a purpose. Ensure the development of skills and game understanding.

Judging Player Ability

- A player’s performance in practice and matches can be influenced by a large number of a factors, all of which need to be considered when forming an opinion of a player’s true ability. These include but not are not limited to:

  • Date of Birth

  • Gender

  • Body Size & Type

  • Growth Spurt

  • Maturity (Physical,Psychological &Social)

  • Previous Experience

  • Confidence

  • Opposition

  • Position Suitability

  • Own Team’s Playing Standards

  • The Instructions Given to the Player

  • Recent Playing Activity

Growth & Maturity

- Recognise that all players will be maturing & growing at different rates, at different ages and according to gender.

- Recognise that physical maturity will not always develop at the same rate as maturity in other areas.

- Don’t over-burden the players that are either extremely early or late developer.

- All players in the squad will need patience, support & encouragement.

- Recognise that the current success or failure of a player is not necessarily an indicator of on-going proficiency.

- Understand that all some players need is ‘time’.

Managing Distractions

- By planning ahead the coach can create an environment that minimises distractions and helps players to stay ‘on-task’ for longer.

- Organise sessions that are interesting, challenging, varied and fun.

- Avoid players being stood in line or asking them to wait around for too long without a focus.

- Plan arrival activities so players can begin practising as soon as they arrive.

Managing Behaviour

- Ensure that all players are aware of, have read and understand the club’s codes of conduct for players and their responsibilities outlined within it.

- Give time to players that are behaving well, rather than those misbehaving, and make sure to praise and reward them.

- If you have to intervene, do so in a calm and controlled manner.

- If boundaries are consistently broken then there should be a consequence.

- As a coach, remember the only person’s behaviour you can control is your own, so set a good example.

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