development

Player Development is a long-term process, requiring time and patience. Below, we draw on the expertise of authors and experienced coaches Keith and David Mayer to examine how coaches can adequately support players throughout the duration of their developmental journeys. In This Article The Personal Element of Coaching The ‘soft skills’ of coaching are arguably the most important. To be truly effective in our roles, we must get to know our players, build positive relationships, and make them feel safe in our coaching environments. Crucially,…

In order to maximise their potential, and thrive under whatever challenges the game provides, players must be creative, independent decision-makers. Therefore, a crucial component of coaching is helping players learn to think and act for themselves. This, in turn, requires us to give them autonomy in their developmental journeys. Below, we discuss ways to empower the kids we coach, and encourage them to take ownership of their learning and development. In This Article Encouraging Accountability within Our Teams A key step to giving players ownership…

In this Masterclass Discussion, the PDP team share a model of play focussed on moments of the game. The team go into detail as to how you can design a programme within your club that helps players develop across all facets of the game. Image Source: matimix from Canva Pro

The value of self-reflection cannot be underestimated in development environments. UK Sports Head of Coaching, Nick Levett shares his thoughts on the benefits of the reflection process.   One of the crucial elements of a high quality learning environment is the importance of reflection. In order to learn more about the players and their reflection skills, here are a few reflective questions for the players to consider at the end of the practice session or game. These can be delivered and linked in a variety of…

After making his professional debut in Australia, Stefan Mauk embarked on a career that would see him win the A-League and play in multiple continents. But his pathway to professional football was not easy. In this article, Mauk, now playing in Japan for Fagiano Okayama, reflects on his childhood playing football, the biggest factors in his development, and how adversity helped drive him to become a professional footballer. In This Article A Sporting Childhood Mauk traces the origins of his career back to a childhood…

The Foundation Phase is a crucial time for young players. From the ages of eight- to 12-years-old, they will hopefully build the skills and confidence to underpin a lifetime of participation and further development in the game. As coaches, our job is to facilitate this process and provide varied and stimulating learning environments. Below, Lee Hodge, Head of Academy Coaching at Plymouth Argyle FC, shares his insights from the world of youth football, as he outlines his approach to developing 8-12 year-old players. In This…

The psychological components of coaching have a huge impact on the development of our players — both on and off the pitch. As coaches, we have a responsibility to understand these components, in order to provide supportive and constructive learning environments for the kids we work with. In this article, Dr. Suzanne Brown, Clinical Psychologist and Lead Psychologist at Sunderland AFC, explores some of the most important aspects of psychology in football, as she discusses emotional control, how to develop positive attitudes to mistakes, and…

When it comes to learning, development or performance, what is ‘The Zone’? In this article, motivational researcher and rugby coach, Jonny McMurtry shares some ideas as to how we can help athletes get into the zone. Driven by my on-going reviews of my current research and listening Coach Reed Maltbie’s recent podcast regarding Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximial Development, I wanted to look deeper into the theory, applying ideas against recent articles and incidents in the coaching world to highlight my perceived importance to this matter….

In this Masterclass Discussion, PDP Coaching Advisor James Coutts is joined by Bristol City FC U18 Lead Coach, Trevor Challis. In this discussion Trevor shares some invaluable stories from his playing days and in particular the late great Ray Wilkins that has helped shape how Trevor coaches now. This is great discussion around guiding players through their developmental journey and ensuring that honesty is at the forefront of what coaches do. Trevor and James discuss the importance of role models and leadership as a key…

In this article, AFC A licensed coach Andrew Oakley shares his perspective on a significant issue in Australian grassroots football. Andrew discusses the risks of trials, recruitment and talent identification, outlining the importance of belonging and cohesion in a young footballers developmental journey. Why do we keep shuffling the cards in hope of a ‘winning’ hand? At the end of every season in Australia’s youth football landscape, a ritual is repeated that isn’t doing our clubs or players any favours. The annual circus of retention,…

In this Q&A Video Dave Wright & Dan Wright discuss considerations for coaches when preparing and organising match day for young players. The question this week comes from Simon via Twitter: “What is your advice on how to organise match day for U-12s? 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: 1. Tweet your questions to us @playerdp, or contact us on our Facebook page.2….

The question this week comes from an anonymous grassroots coach: He asks, “Should I recruit stronger 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: 1. Tweet your questions to us @playerdp, or contact us on our Facebook page.2. PDP Members can chat directly with the PDP team to ask questions, share ideas, and support each other on our exclusive Coaching Community.  Start your membership…

Cameron Knowles has been part of the Portland Timbers organisation for well over a decade. Following a 7 year professional playing career at Real Salt Lake, the Timbers and Montreal Impact, Cameron made the move into coaching where he worked as an Assistant Coach with the first team for five years. The holder of a Masters in Psychology & now into his second season as Head Coach of Portland Timbers T2, Cameron joins PDP Editor, Dave Wright for a conversation on his journey through the…

The 2018 World Cup displayed football and team cultures from around the world. In this article, Dr. John Alder of the English Institute of Sport follows up his article from Issue 17 of PDP Magazine with an insightful examination of the importance of ‘thinking culturally’. Note: John contributed to this article in his personal capacity. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily represent the views of either the English Institute of Sport or UK Sport. As a custodian of a team’s culture,…

The question this week comes from Spence: “How can I blend a developmental environment without losing the desire to win, but not at all costs?” 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: 1. Tweet your questions to us @playerdp, or contact us on our Facebook page.2. PDP Members can chat directly with the PDP team to ask questions, share ideas, and support each other…

Euro 2016 provided a fascinating insight into the relationship between football, player development and culture. PDP Lead Researcher, James Vaughan looks at the importance of culture and how its influences can be traced in different development environments across the world.   The way we play football is a reflection of culture. Playing styles (team and individual) mirror the social values and cultural practises within socio-cultural contexts. Contexts like the schools, clubs, or groups we’ve belonged to. Growing up in England I tackled hard, avoided making mistakes and played it safe, especially under…

Iceland’s development pathway has been the focus of debate following the tiny nation’s showing at Euro 2016. But underpinning all the investment is an intangible thread, which recently came under attack from one of the world’s best players: their mindset. In light of the comments made by Cristiano Ronaldo and others about the Icelandic mindset, Jon Hoggard looks to unpick how the national team’s mentality has been formed by the country and shaped by recent investment.   In qualifying for Euro 2016, Iceland became the…

What does it take to build and sustain football confidence? Regular PDP contributor and President of New Edge Performance, John Haime provides some practical advice for this crucial element of player development and performance. Every week in the top leagues in the world, you’ll see fantastic displays of skill – players trying things in the middle of games, taking calculated risk and using their great abilities. Recently, I watched Marcelo of Real Madrid put on a confidence clinic – trying things in the game that…

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