Q&A Videos

The PDP team answer your coaching questions in short discussion videos. Ask your questions on Twitter, Facebook, or click here.

It can be easy to overcomplicate things when it comes to gameday tactics. But, as coaches, we should remember that our priority is not winning matches, but supporting the development of our players — and that our use of tactics can play an important role in this process. In this article, we discuss some of the key considerations when creating tactical plans, and how we can coach tactics within the context of youth football. In This Article Accounting For Our Players’ Needs Giving Players Different…

The debate around hard work vs. talent, and which is more important, can be a contentious one among coaches. But perhaps our focus should not be deciding whether talent beats hard work, or vice versa, but determining the best ways to support all of the individuals within our team, regardless of ability. In this Q&A, we discuss the definition of talent and the pitfalls of early talent identification, address the challenges of working with players of different abilities, and consider how to work with a…

Coming back after a soccer injury can be physically and psychologically challenging for young players. As coaches, we must support them while they’re unable to play, be careful not to rush them back, and provide encouragement when it’s time for them to return. In this Q&A, we discuss some effective methods of injury prevention, ways to keep players involved while they’re going through recovery, and how to safely reintegrate them after a soccer injury. In This Article What Is the First Step to Recovering From…

Performance analysis has become a big part of professional soccer, in both the senior game and at academy level. But, with a relatively modest setup, we can also utilize the benefits of analysis and analytics in grassroots environments. In this Q&A, we explore how to capture worthwhile video footage on gameday, use that footage to gather data, and effectively make use of the results to support player development. In This Article Can You Implement Performance Analysis in Grassroots Environments? How Can I Supplement Soccer Video…

As coaches, we can use different formations to provide our players with a variety of experiences and learning opportunities. The 4-3-3 formation is one of the most common. But why is it so popular? In this Q&A, we discuss why certain formations are used more often than others, look at how they can aid our players’ development, and assess the benefits of the 4-3-3 formation. In This Article Why Are Some Formations More Popular than Others? Should We Teach Kids to Play in Different Systems?…

Soccer coaching can be very demanding of your time, whether you’re doing it professionally or as a volunteer — and this often makes it hard to strike a good work-life balance. In this Q&A, we discuss how to manage your time effectively, still provide the best possible experience for your players, and avoid coaching burnout. In This Article What Are Some of the Difficulties Faced By Coaches? How Can We Create Supportive Environments Within Our Clubs? How Can a Coach Effectively Manage Their Time? What…

Soccer warm ups are excellent ways to engage players as soon as they arrive at training, helping them to loosen up and priming them to learn. But should our approach be different on game day? In this Q&A, we explain the value of warm ups, examine what makes a good warm up routine, and look at how to successfully use warm up activities as part of our pregame preparation. In This Article Why Do We Use Soccer Warm Ups? What Makes a Good Warm Up…

Team talks are an important part of gameday. A good team talk will engage our players, encourage them to reflect on the game, and help them to consolidate their learning. This Q&A looks at why they’re so important and explores the different opportunities to communicate with our players on gameday —  guiding us on how we can make these crucial interventions more effective. In This Article Why Do We Give Team Talks? How Can We Set Our Players Appropriate Targets? What Should I Cover in…

Obtaining a coaching license is a great way to learn and progress on your coaching journey. But do we place too much emphasis on formal coaching qualifications? And how important are informal learning opportunities? In this Q+A, we consider the role of formal soccer coaching courses, explain how to get the most from them, and discuss the value of informal learning experiences. In This Article Do Coaching License Levels Matter? What Are the Benefits of Obtaining a Soccer Coaching License? How Can I Make the…

Practicing core soccer skills is essential to the development of young players. Skills like dribbling, passing, and receiving/trapping and retaining/shielding the ball are all learned during the crucial period of ball mastery as kids discover the game. But why are they so important? And how can we coach them effectively? In this Q+A, we look at the most important skills for soccer and some of the best ways to cover them in our sessions. In This Article What Are the Core Skills for Soccer? How…

Soccer set pieces are a crucial part of the game; from grassroots level to professional clubs, an increasing amount of value is being placed on set plays. But how important are they in youth soccer? In this Q+A, we consider the benefits of working on set pieces with young players, explore the growing role of set piece coaching, and discuss how we can incorporate it in our sessions. In This Article Should I Coach Set Pieces In the Foundation Phase? How Important are Soccer Set…

The Foundation Phase broadly covers the ages of 8-12 in youth soccer and is a crucial period of experimentation and skill acquisition for young players. So what game formats should we use in order to give them the best opportunities to learn, enjoy the sport, and develop? Below, we look at the range of formats available to coaches and consider how we can incorporate them into our training and games programs to give kids a variety of positive experiences playing soccer. In This Article Progressing…

The question this week comes from Michael via email. “I’m new to the club and still getting to know the players. I have one U14 player who is unhappy and doesn’t appear to be getting along with team mates and it’s starting to affect training sessions. How would you handle this situation?” 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…

The question this week comes from Rich: “My main issue is getting my U9 team to believe they are as good as what I see them do at training. On game day they seem to freeze up and suffer a bit of stage fright!” 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…

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…

Coaching 1v1 situations is a key part of player development. It allows us to coach a broad range of skills and moments of the game, enables kids to develop attributes that will benefit them as they progress to larger-sided games, and is beneficial for players of all ages and abilities. Here, we examine the value of 1v1s in player development and consider how to incorporate them in our sessions. In This Article What are 1v1s? The Benefits of 1v1s Tailoring 1v1s The Key Points What…

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