skill acquisition

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…

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 our latest Player Development Project webinar replay, we focus on coaching younger players. PDP Technical Advisor, Dan Wright is joined by two top academy coaches, Nathan Thomas and Nathan Philip. Nathan Thomas is currently the Lead Foundation Phase Coach at MK Dons and has experience coaching at Middlesborough, Arsenal and Brentford – he also holds the FA Advanced Youth Award. Nathan Philip holds both the UEFA A Licence and Advanced Youth Award, has worked across these age groups in both coaching and recruitment roles…

In this Masterclass Webinar replay, the PDP team host Skill Acquisition and Coach Development expert, Ric Shuttleworth for a wide ranging discussion. Ric has worked at both the Australian Institute of Sport and with England Rugby as well as other top sporting organisations. Player Development’s Project’s coaching team of Dave Wright and Dan Wright sit down to tackle a number of topics with Ric, including: The principles of skill adaptation Team games as complex adaptive systems Coach support Challenges for coaches Constraints led approach This…

The question this week comes from Percy via Facebook: “Would you ever use isolated technique training?” 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 Slack Community.  Start your membership today,…

In this Masterclass Discussion, PDP Editor, Dave Wright is joined by Mark Lyons – Pre Academy Co-ordinator and Lead Coach at Leicester City Football Club. In this wide ranging conversation, Mark and Dave dive into the topic of coaching foundation phase aged players. If you work with U7-11 players, this is essential viewing. Mark shares his philosophy, insights into the clubs approach when working with young children, the importance of fun, variety of experiences, session design and more. Mark is a vastly experienced coach, holds…

In this Masterclass Discussion, Dr. Craig Harrison is hosted by PDP Editor, Dave Wright for a wide ranging conversation on youth development, skill acquisition and the importance of play in the learning process for children. Craig and Dave cover a range of topics including sports science and how it can be integrated in youth settings, specilasation, development versus performance and much more. This is an insightful and educational interview with a real innovator in New Zealand youth sport. Image Source: Unsplash

In this Masterclass, we share a replay of our live and interactive webinar with UEFA A licensed academy coaches Dave Wright and Dan Wright. Dan and Dave discuss practice design in the final third, considerations when planning your session and share a number of small sided games to help you work on attacking themes with your players. We cover the practice spectrum, talk about the ‘3R’s’ and Dan and Dave share some of their favourite small sided games for developing attackers. Image Source: depositphotos.com

Problem-solving is crucial in player development. In this article, Founder of Changing the Game Project, John O’Sullivan shares an excellent article on the importance of guiding children towards solutions and creating autonomy in learning environments. Imagine you went to your child’s algebra class and got to be a fly on the wall. Imagine the teacher was being assessed on your child’s test results in two days. Now imagine that instead of teaching your child how to problem solve, and the concepts behind doing algebra problems,…

In this Masterclass Discussion, we’re joined by experienced Academy Coach & Co-founder of My Football Development, Gabriel Flores for a fascinating conversation on developing youth football players. PDP Editor, Dave Wright hosts Gabriel for an in depth conversation on skill acquisition, individual learning, how to adapt your session design to ensure you stretch your players and much more. This is a must watch conversation, particularly for coaches working with players in the foundation or skill acquisition phase of youth coaching. The conversation features some great…

Awareness, decision-making, perception and execution are all part of skill acquisition. PDP contributor & Founder of TOVO Institute, Todd Beane shares an article on coaching methodology to enhance players cognitive fitness. Are your players cognitively fit? If you are like most coaches that may be a tough question to answer. But why? I might suggest that it is not a question you have had to answer before. I know that it was not a question that I addressed as a young coach myself. My task…

In this Masterclass Discussion, PDP Editor Dave Wright hosts Birmingham City Assistant Academy Manager, Stuart English. Stuart has vast experience in player development having worked at Luton Town FC, Brentford FC and Birmingham City. In his role at BCFC, Stuart is responsible for overseeing not only the player development program alongside Academy Manager, Kristjaan Speakman, but developing coaches, supporting staff and constantly looking for trends and ways of innovating. In this discussion, Stuart shares his coaching story and gives shares some superb advice for coaches…

Coach and researcher, Ben Galloway shares a video about the importance of opposition in session design and of interactions between players in skill acquisition. In his video below, ‘Attuning to Others’, Ben outlines how football interactions emerge as a result of a wide range of environmental influences; most importantly, the presence of other players.   The video above is designed to provoke thought and reflection. Some viewers may disagree with the practice design approach I have discussed, while others may share this view of coaching….

In this fascinating and in depth conversation, PDP Editor, Dave Wright hosts International Hockey Coach & Coach Developer at Oxford Brookes University, Danny Newcombe. Danny and Dave discuss a wide range of topics around skill acquisition, constraints based coaching, creating a learning environment, the coaching spectrum and more. This is a must watch interview with a true innovator and thought leader in coaching. Danny is a Senior Lecturer, Coach Developer and Skill Acquisition Expert at Oxford Brookes University in England. A leading Hockey Coach, Danny…

This question comes from Tom, via the PDP Facebook Page: “Does repetition aid development?” 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 Slack Community.  Start your membership today, and join…

Keith Davids, Duarte Araújo, Luis Vilar, Ian Renshaw & Ross Pinder The Big Idea When asked to comment on what he found to be so special in playing the classical guitar, Andres Segovia spoke of his sitting position in playing it.  He said he leans his body forward slightly to support the guitar against his chest, “for the poetry of the music should resound in our heart.”  So why shouldn’t the poetry of the sports player resound in his or her heart?  Which is what…

Do you understand the context of your coaching environment? PDP contributor and associate lecturer at Oxford Brookes University, Ben Franks discusses the issues around the ongoing unopposed vs. opposed training debate and explains why context is key in a learning environment.   Going Beyond the Opposed vs. Unopposed Dualism Unopposed vs. opposed, technique vs. skill – these arguments are forever plaguing Twitter, Facebook and coaching platforms. Some arguments come from theory, others from years of coaching experience, but all seem to be missing a really obvious point: everything pertains to context….

Luca Oppici; Derek Panchuk; Fabio R. Serpiello; and Damian Farrow The Big Idea If this study does nothing else, it should reinforce a couple of useful ideas hovering over our sporting life.  First, there is inherent relevance for the power of field research to inform our sports practices.  Second, we are learning that our sporting practices, where possible, need to be as game-specific as we can make them. This study is field-based in both its design and technical sophistication; it is not simulation, but fact-based…

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