Skill Acquisition

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

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 and a stint in Australia…

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…

Professor Stephen Rollnick is a clinical psychologist with over 30 years experience. In this Masterclass Discussion, Stephen joins PDP Co-founder, Dave Wright for an in depth discussion on coach communication, the skill of motivational interviewing and much more. Stephen is a truly world-class thinker and practitioner who is applying his extensive knowledge to sport. This conversation covers a range of topics around connection, communication, tradition and relationships which will help coaches improve their ability to build effective relationships in their coaching. Image Source: Kelly Lacy from Pexels

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…

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…

Ben Bartlett, Senior Youth Coach Educator at the Football Association, gives some fascinating real-life examples to explain the importance of aligning a team’s ideal model of performance with the capabilities and behaviours of its players and the practice of its coaching. There is a Japanese proverb, highlighted by James Kerr in his book ‘Legacy’, which states that “Vision without action is a day-dream; action without vision is a nightmare”. With this in mind, lecturer and coach developer Bob Muir proposed the model below, asking coaches…

The question this week comes from Callum via our Facebook Page Callum asks: “How do I balance developing athletic and technical players?” 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.  …

Warren Grieve is an AFC Pro License holder and Technical Director at Football NSW in Australia. In this interview, PDP Editor, Dave Wright sits down with Warren to talk coach education, learning environments and more. This conversation covers a range of topics including: Insights into Warren’s experience doing the Pro License Advice for coaches undertaking courses Tackling the question, “What is Coaching?” Common misconceptions on coaching courses Session design Creating learning environments Plus much more This is an insightful discussion for developing coaches, particularly those…

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…