psychology

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…

A player’s stamina can impact their performance, development, and even their enjoyment of the game. As such, endurance training for soccer is an increasingly important part of many coaches’ training programs. But what does stamina entail? And how can we help young players increase their stamina while supporting the other aspects of their development? Below, we consider the importance of stamina in soccer, and how to train fitness in our sessions. In This Article What Is Stamina? How Does Increasing Stamina Affect Performance? Soccer Conditioning:…

We know that youth development is complex and this is particularly relevant for young people who are experiencing massive change through their teenage years. Ensuring the physical development of young players is one of many coaching challenges we face when working with young people. In this Masterclass Discussion, PDP Co-founder Dave Wright hosts two top experts in athlete development and human movement. Dan Cooke is an A Licensed coach with experience at all levels and is currently completing his PhD through the Sport Research Institute…

Good relationships provide a powerful foundation for coaching. Connecting is something you do and can practice getting better at, particularly the art of listening well. 5 Barriers to Connecting Think of connecting as a soft skill:  A sideshow to the main task of preparing to win. Just be friendly: “Banter” is sufficient. A good relationship means you are always relaxed and smiling together. Talk only about sport: Ignore their lives, relationships, dreams and world outside of sport. Solve a problem, offer reassurance or give advice…

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…

In this Masterclass webinar replay, the PDP team host Western United FC Academy Director, Anthony Frost for an in depth discussion on considerations around session design and delivery. PDP Co-founder, Dave Wright is joined by PDP Coaching Advisor, James Coutts to host Anthony and they cover a range of topics: Insights on Anthony’s coaching and coach development experience Considerations for designing your sessions Realism, repetition and relevance The practice spectrum & practical examples Common coaching mistakes Individualising your coaching approach Become a master of session…

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…

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 FA’s Four Corner Model can be a useful tool for coaches. But to use it effectively, we need to understand both its purpose and its limitations, and learn how to apply it in a way that supports our coaching without governing our approach. All coaches need guidance on how best to support their players, and the Four Corner Model can provide an excellent framework for session design and player development, provided we use it correctly. In this article What is The FA Four Corner…

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…

How can parents and coaches help young players overcome a perfectionist mindset? Chief Content Officer at Changing the Game Project, Reed Maltbie shares a fantastic article around some of the modern challenges parents and coaches face with perfectionism on the rise in a status-driven society. Recently, Changing the Game Project received a question that we get often, so we thought it would make a great blog: “I was wondering if you could provide some advice. My son is 8 years old and plays on a…

PDP Co-Founder Dave Wright & Positive Psychology expert Lara Mossman discussing how to control emotions in sports. We can’t expect youth soccer players to show great emotional control all of the time. It’s sometimes easy to forget, but they’re not mini-adults — they don’t have the same capacity to control their emotions as we do, and we shouldn’t expect them to. But that doesn’t mean we can’t help. We can still teach our young players how to understand and manage their emotions. And this education…

Gratitude is a trait we should all be aiming to develop in the young players we work with. Developing better people first is a fundamental belief at PDP. So as coaches, how do we approach this? Mental performance expert John Haime discusses how players can shift their mindset and enhance their own experience through taking a grateful approach to their own development, outlining how a simple emotion can elevate performance   What are you grateful for? That might seem like a strange question to ask…

In our latest Masterclass Webinar we sit down to discuss the coach/athlete relationship with Keith and David Mayer, authors of Gold Dust: How to Become a More Effective Coach, Quickly. The focus of the conversation is how we build connections with young players, using empathy, understanding, patience and communication. Keith is has over 40 years coaching experience at a number of professional clubs and has worked as an FA Tutor. David is currently completing his UEFA A license and has experience in the USA and…

In this Masterclass Discussion, PDP Lead Researcher, James Vaughan sits down with Professor Stephen Rollnick, an expert psychologist who has worked for the NHS & in sport. James & Stephen discuss team work and what opportunities sport provides to young people in expressing themselves, solving problems and learning. Stephen Rollnick is Honorary Distinguished Professor in the School of Medicine, Cardiff University. He was a practicing psychologist in the UK National Health Service for 16 years, and then became a teacher and researcher on the subject…

Stephen Rollnick is a pioneer in motivational interviewing and in recent years has been applying his knowledge to sport. In this article, Stephen offers a psychology perspective on the key differences between praise and affirmation with young athletes. “When you’re that young, it doesn’t take a lot to be encouraged, or discouraged . . . they raised my game . . . they saw something in me I didn’t see in myself.” (Sir Ken Robinson, educationalist) In my work as a psychologist and trainer in…

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