How We Coach

This is the PDP way, informed by years of coaching experience and the wisdom of our network of experts.

In this Masterclass Webinar replay, we’re joined by Head Coach of Portland Timbers T2 team, Cameron Knowles for a conversation on High Performance Coaching. Cameron is a former professional player who had a career in the USA with Real Salt Lake, Portland Timbers and Montreal Impact. He holds the US Pro License, a Masters in Psychology and was an Assistant Coach of the MLS Title Winning Portland Timbers staff in 2015 before taking up the role of Head Coach of the club’s T2 team who…

Self-organisation was a key process discussed at the Complex Systems in Sports Congress at Camp Nou in Barcelona. PDP co-founder James Vaughan discusses the importance of understanding and observing self-organisation with video and reflections from Barcelona and Sweden. It was the end of the day and that meant free play. However, this freedom felt very restricted, very one-directional, very narrow. It was almost as if the players had blinkers on; constrained to only see forwards. Dribble forward, tackle, loose ball, transition! Dribble forward, tackle, loose ball, transition! Dribble…

Is psychology being embraced in coaching environments? Many modern coaching courses and clubs have improved their advocacy of sports psychology, but is there still a stigma or reluctance to hone in on the psychological component of coaching? New PDP contributor, Blaine McKenna shares his research after a survey of coaches in Northern Ireland working in the game as to how they engage with psychology in their coaching environment. This is the first in a series of blogs relating to the findings from my MSc research which…

PDP Co-Founder Dave Wright & Former New Zealand Women’s Head Coach Tony Readings, discussing the positives and potential pitfalls for girls in mixed soccer. Is it better for female soccer players to play in boys’ teams? Playing mixed soccer can provide both technical benefits and social challenges. As coaches, we must strike a balance that pushes our players without hindering their development or enjoyment of the game. Whether it’s best for a girl to play on boys’ teams depends upon a variety of factors that…

This blog contains two videos of a modified 3v3. In this session, PDP Lead Researcher & AIK Academy Coach, James Vaughan changes task constraints and encourages player reflection to create opportunities for learning with space for creative expression. A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to work with just 6 players for a whole session. This is something I really enjoy after years of coaching futsal. However, working with small numbers of players for a whole session can be daunting. In this blog, I want to…

In this Live Webinar replay, UEFA A licensed coaches Dan Wright and Dave Wright share some of their favourite small sided games for youth football. Dan and Dave present a number of practices, including lead in games, adaptations and reasons behind some of their top small sided games for discussion with coaches in the room. The practices presented are adaptable and the guys share ideas as to how they could be adjusted for various player numbers or ages, as well as tackling questions from guests…

In this Masterclass webinar replay, the PDP team share a top presentation on developing 1v1 players. PDP Co-Founder Dave Wright hosts a conversation with PDP Technical Advisor, Dan Wright and PDP Coaching Advisor, James Coutts on the value of 1v1s and how you can support your players confidence in developing this key attribute. The conversation covers a range of topics: – Position specific 1v1s – Various session plans for you to adapt – Discuss where 1v1s happen on the pitch – Share video of 1v1…

Rob Sherman explains the player-centred approach and asks whether it is exclusive to youth development. Rob has over 30 years’ experience, starting in amateur leagues before graduating to be an Area Coach for the Welsh FA and coach of Wales U16. After several years as the Welsh National Player Development Manager and Technical Director, in 2007 he became High Performance Manager at New Zealand Football and coached at FIFA events and two Olympics. After establishing the Asia Pacific Football Academy, Rob returned to New Zealand…

In this Masterclass Webinar replay, we connect with the highly experienced, Kelly Cross & Drew Sherman to discuss youth development in Australia. Kelly Cross is the Technical Director – Youth at Sydney FC, whilst Drew is the General Manager of Football at Melbourne Victory. Since the turn of the century these two clubs have been the most successful in the A League and now lead the way around youth development pathways. In this discussion, PDP Editor, Dave Wright hosts Kelly and Drew for an in…

In this Masterclass Discussion, PDP Editor, Dave Wright is joined by Academy Manager of Birmingham City FC, Kristjaan Speakman for an in depth and wide ranging conversation. Kristjaan has been at the club for well over a decade and has also coached at Derby County under the guidance of Terry Westley. Now one of England’s most highly regarded Academy Managers, Kristjaan sits down with Dave to discuss leadership, coaching and coach development, shares insights into the journey of Demarai Gray & recent first team debutant,…

How do you differentiate between each individual’s learning experience within your group? No single player’s experience is the same. In this article, Reed Maltbie discusses how you can ensure that you understand the needs of every player in your group. “This is easy. Watch me again. This is how you do it.” It was getting more difficult to mask my frustration. I had been trying to teach my 11-year-old son how to do long division for about 45 minutes now, and my patience was wearing…

Coaching across age groups requires subtle skills and in depth understanding. In this Masterclass Webinar replay, PDP Co-hosts Dave Wright and Dan Wright host Assistant Academy Manager at Birmingham City FC, Stuart Engish for an in depth discussion on age appropriate coaching. Stuart shares some brilliant insights into the academy at Birmingham City FC and his former club, Brentford FC where he held a similar role. The conversation focusses on the differences of coaching delivery and player development across all of the age phases from…

The question this week comes from the PDP Slack Community: “How do I help teenage players value defending?” Your Turn: Ask PDP Anything Do you have a coaching question that we might be able to help with? We would love to hear from you. Here’s what you can do: Join the conversation on our PDP Slack Community. Post them in the comments section, tweet them to us at @playerdp, or ask them on our Facebook page. Additional Resources Check out other Q&A Videos here.   Ebook: Coaching Fundamentals: Six Steps…

In this PDP Live Session, PDP Coaching Advisor, James Coutts facilitates the second part of his session where the focus is on playing through and around opposition players. This session supports players understanding of space, utilising an 8 v 4 overload in favour of the possession team to find and exploit gaps. The defending team is incentivised with the opportunity to press or screen and subsequently score in the mini goals at each end. As with any PDP session, we strongly encourage you to take…

Passing and receiving are fundamental skills for developing players. In this live session, PDP Coaching Advisor, James Coutts shares an interference passing practice warm up which leads in to a session focussed on split passes and some key principles. In this session, James gets this group of U11 players moving with an interference practice designed to give the players high repetition with some elements of traffic and decision-making. The focus of part one is to get the players switched on and working on a range…

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