Skill Acquisition

How our players acquire skills through formal practice and informal play.

At every level of the game, 1v1 duels are a fundamental part of soccer. So it’s vital that we help our players develop the skills to feel confident and thrive in these situations when they arise on gameday. Below, we look at the different kinds of 1v1 soccer skills, explain why they’re so important to player development, and outline some of the best 1 on 1 soccer training exercises. In This Article Why are 1 on 1 Soccer Skills So Important? 1v1 Soccer Training Exercises…

In this Masterclass webinar replay, Player Development Project hosted Head of Coaching at UK Coaching, Nick Levett. Nick is joined by PDP Co-Founder & UEFA A licensed Coach, Dave Wright as well as PDP Technical Advisor & UEFA A licensed coach, Dan Wright. Nick has a huge amount of experience in coaching and development, having previously been Head of Talent ID at The FA and he has also worked as an Academy Coach in England. In this discussion Nick, Dan and Dave dive into a…

In this Player Development Project webinar replay, we continue our series of discussions around position specific work and how you can create sessions to support their development across a variety of roles. This time, we focus on how coaches can support young players develop defensive skills and problem solving ability. PDP Co-Founder, Dave Wright hosts PDP Technical Advisor, Dan Wright & Leicester City FC Academy Coach, Mark Lyons for an interactive discussion with a defensive focus. Our panel of UEFA A licensed expert coaches present…

In this PDP Live Session, we were delighted to collaborate with Brunswick City SC in Melbourne as their first team commence pre-season training. In this session, Co Coaches, Ric Marchioli and Ric Martinez deliver a session focussed on the Brunswick City SC first team style of play, namely playing forward. This is a great example of applying a playing principle in practice. You’ll see a 4v4+2 type practice which includes attacking, defending and transition, key elements to a good opposed practice. Watch how the two…

This Masterclass Webinar replay is a fantastic opportunity for you to explore the research behind scanning and awareness in football with Dave Eldridge, UEFA A licensed coach & lecturer at Chichester University in England. “I spend the entire 90 minutes looking for space on the pitch. I’m always between the opposition’s two holding midfielders and thinking, ‘The defence is here, so I get the ball and I go there to where the space is.” – Xavi The best players seem to always have time on the…

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…

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,…

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…

In this Live Session PDP Coaching Advisor, James Coutts builds on his previous work around forward passing, progressing his session with a group of U11 players to include a finishing component. This is the third part in a series of sessions focussed on playing through and around. This practice sees a continuation of the concept of the theme which allows players to find a pass to a player beyond lines who is tasked with scoring whilst defenders recover. The players have to choose the right moment to break lines…

In this Masterclass Webinar replay, we are joined by PhD Researcher, Megan Hill from the University of Bath for an in depth discussion on growth and maturation in youth football. Talent development and understanding performance versus potential is a complex topic. The progression from childhood, through adolescence to adulthood is characterised by an individual experiencing growth, maturation, and development. This process is unique to each child, it can be slow and steady or be full of huge growth spurts and challenging injuries. These influences can…

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…

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