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Unit 3: Practice Examples & The Coaching Spectrum

Unit 3 of Session Design provides a collection or practical sessions from a traditional and contemporary view, as well as content from Leicester City U18 coach, Steve Kirby on the his views on how to design a session.

In this unit, UEFA A licensed coaches Dave Wright and Dan Wright share a series of practices which could be perceived as traditional or contemporary and go in depth on the practical elements of putting our session on the grass. We discuss what’s changed in modern coaching, understanding of player development and the importance of the coaching spectrum and how to apply a the design continuum.

Topics for discussion are as follows:

  • Traditional Examples
  • Contemporary Examples & Debate
  • Unnopposed Practice
  • Technical Practice
  • Functional Practice
  • Phase of Play & Small Sided Games
  • Conditioning Practice
  • The Design Continuum
  • Avoiding Drills
  • Expert Clip & Recommended Content

This video should leave you with a huge range of ideas for your session design as well as a view of what traditional and contemporary approaches look like in practice. We will wrap things up with some expert advice from our network of PDP contributors.

Traditional Examples

In our first video of Unit 3, Dan and Dave discuss traditional coach education and session design as it’s been presented in various formal environments they have experienced.


Contemporary Examples & Debate

In this video, Dave and Dan discuss how modern research and contemporary player development philosophy have altered the way we should look at designing our sessions.


Unopposed Practice

This video discusses the role and place of unopposed practice, where it sits on the coaching spectrum and in what context it might be appropriate to use with players, providing practical examples for discussion.


Technical Practice

In this video, Dave and Dan discuss the concept of traditional ‘technical practices’, what they are and where it could fit into your planning.


Functional Practice

What is a functional practice? Traditionally, this is a concept that is presented for the first time to most coaches on B license courses as a format for teaching moments of the game. Dave and Dan discuss how it works, and what value it can add.


Phase of Play & Small Sided Games

What is a Phase of Play and how does it differ from a Small Sided Game? This concept, traditionally presented on UEFA A or B licenses is a way to deliver tactical outcomes. This video features Dan and Dave presenting on differences and applications of these kind of practices.


Conditioning Practice

Seeking physical returns through football specific training is something we encourage at PDP. In this video, Dan and Dave discuss how to ensure physical outcomes, what age and stage it may be relevant for within your environment and how to ensure a ball is included in your football conditioning sessions.


The Design Continuum

The coaching spectrum is a concept we have often referenced at PDP. Citing the work of Danny Newcombe, Dave and Dan discuss how coaches can use this framework as a guide to enhance your session design, ensuring the players needs are met relative to the context you find yourself working in.


Avoiding Drills

The concept of drills is hotly debated in the world of coaching. In this video, Dan and Dave share some advice around what types of practices you should avoid, and share some principles in what to ensure you include in your design.


Expert Clip & Recommended Content

Our final video of this unit includes some recommended content for you to reference to assist with the topics discussed, and some expert advice from Leicester City FC U18 coach, Steve Kirby on session design.


Image Credits: Deposit Photos