Ethos and Coaching Philosophy


Our club ethos is a detailed statement that sets out how we want our club to run.

  • Work to ‘create a special environment’ that will provide our members with an exceptional football experience around development, playing and enjoyment.
  • Develop a positive, progressive and challenging place for the advancement of football, football skills and the knowledge of all aspects of the game.
  • Deliver age-appropriate coaching to support long-term player development
  • Football for All – to provide football to children of all ages and abilities, in a safe and friendly environment
  • All aspects (training or matches) should be inclusive for all. Players should be involved equally (ensure equal playing time for all) during training and matches to progress their development.
  • Promote the concept that ‘winning is not our first goal, but to understand that improving players skill and knowledge of the game, will result in winning being the end product’.

Coaching Philosophy

The clubs detailed coaching philosophy looks to provide our volunteers with a strong direction and guidance in the process of teaching young players.
Our coaching approach is based on the Football Association 4-corner model to encourage the long term player development, while utilising the appropriate recommendations for players aged between 5-11 and 12-16.

Coaching Aims

  • Make the game safe, inclusive and enjoyable
  • Promote good behaviour and respect in the game
  • Provide age-appropriate coaching (5-11, 12-16, 17+)
  • Develop the whole player using the 4-corners FA Long Term Player Development model, Social, Psychological, Physical and Technical.
    • Improve the players movement skills: agility, balance, co-ordination and speed (ABCs)
    • Develop the players technical skills
    • Increase the players decision-making capabilities
    • Tech the player life skills (co-operation, teamwork, communication and friendship)

Role of the Coach

  • Mentor – Listen to players, advise and extend their thinking (open their mind)
  • Motivator – Drive and inspire the player by setting of appropriate challenges
  • Friend – Ensure the environment is welcoming and especially inclusive for all
  • Facilitator – Allow players to enjoy playing the game
  • Provider – Supply correct information to aid player development

A Good Coach

  • Encourages players to attempt new things
  • Supports and inspires through good practise and game time
  • Understands that each child is unique, unique = special!
  • Encourages the players to reach their full potential and ‘to be the best they can be’
  • Motivates players through positive encouragement
  • Understands that the child needs are the most important part of the activity

Our Good Coaches Also Know

  • They should communicate age-apporpraite language and instructions
  • Youth player development is a long term process, things take time
  • Must understand that different children learn in different ways
  • Understands how young players learn and has knowledge of other issues that can impact a young player development
  • Should consider the self esteem and motivation of their players


  • The minimum requirement for all coaches at our clubs to attend and obtain the following
    • FA Level 1 award in coaching football
    • FA Emergency Aid
    • FA Safe Guarding Children Workshop
  • All our coaches MUST have an enhanced FA DBS check
    • The FA requires everyone who works or volunteers in youth football and regularly takes children into their care, trains or supervises or is in sole charge of children to apply for a FA DBS enhanced disclosure.

Coaches Behaviour

  • Our Coaches must follow the Club Code of Conduct and FA Respect Campaign
  • Coaches should personally be in control on the touchline, DO NOT get carried away.
    • Marching up and down and shouting instructions MUST NOT HAPPEN
  • Do not preach and mistakes. Players always try their best and will learn from their errors.
  • Allow players to play and express with freedom during matches, you as coach should provide encouragement. This is ONE OF YOUR BIGGEST TOOLS.

Player Development

Our coaching approach is based on the Football Association 4-corner model to encourage the long term player development: Technical, Psychological, Physical and Social.

Players should be encouraged to try new skills in practise and work out where and when they can be used in a game.
Where appropriate (age and experience dependant) practise should replicate the demands of the game, encouraging players to think and make decisions just as they would in a match.
Vary the difficulty to match the needs of the individual, by altering the Space, Task, Equipment or Players (STEP).
The interruption by the coaches should be kept to a minimum to allow players to experience the flow of the game and practise. Where interruption is necessary, it should be relevant and positive.

Appropriate movement skills which develop agility, speed, balance and co-ordination should be encouraged through enjoyable games such a tag.
Through well designed practise, all coaching activities can include physical outcomes.
Remember players grow at different rates and may need support and patience as they develop, both at the start of their playing career and when they reach puberty.
Children are not mini-adults and should not be subjected to laps of the pitch or press-ups.

Recognise that different children learn best with different learning methods and ensure that all methods are used when communicating instructions.
Visual (seeing): Tactic boards, posters, diagrams, cue and prompt cards, as well as cones on the pitch.
Auditory (hearing): speak with players, ask questions, encourage discussion in groups amongst the players to solve game-related problems.
Kinaesthetic (doing): Demonstration to the team by the coach or a player to their team mates.

Create a positive and welcoming environment.
Be a good role model for the players.
Praise players for their efforts as well as their ability.
Manage mistakes to the players advantage – understand what they were trying to do. Sometimes they will have the right idea but just fail in the execution of the technique or the skill. This could be used to identify training needs.
Make sure football is fun, but with a purpose. Ensure development of skills and game understanding.

Judging, making opinion on players ability.

  • A players performance in practice and matches can be influenced by the following factors, all of which need to be considered when forming an opinion of a players full ability.
    • Date of Birth; Body type; Adolescent growth spurt; Maturity (physical, psychological and social); Confidence; Previous experience; Opposition; Own teams playing standard; Playing position stability; Instructions given to the player; Recent playing activity.

Growth & Maturity.

Recognise that all players will be maturing and growing at different rates, at different ages and according to gender.
Recognise that physical maturity will not always develop at the same rate as maturity in other areas.
Do not over burden the players that are either an extremely early or late developer.
All players in the squad will need patience, support and encouragement.
Recognise that the current success or failure of a player is not necessarily an indicator of on-going proficiency.
Understand that all some players need is ‘time’.

Managing Distractions.

By planning in advance the coach can create an environment that minimises distractions and helps players to stay ‘on-task’ for longer.
Organise sessions that are interesting, challenging, varied and fun.
Avoid players standing in line or asking them to wait around for too long without a focus.
Plan arrival activities so players can begin practising as soon as they arrive.

Managing Behaviour.

Ensure that all players are aware of, have read and understood the club’s code of conduct for players and their responsibilities outlined within it.
Give time to players that are behaving well, rather than those misbehaving, and make sure to praise and reward them.
When you intervene, do so in a calm and controlled manner.
If boundaries are consistently broken, then there should be a consequence.
As a coach, remember the only person’s behaviour you can control is your own, so set a good example.

Coaching Recommendations.
Age Group 5-11 Years.

Create a positive and enjoyable environment which prioritises skill development, decision making, fundamental movement skills and trial & error is critical for young players in this age group.

Positive Learning Environment.

  • Encourage players to be creative and take considered risks in both practice and games.
  • Remember – mistakes will happen.
  • Let players make some of the decisions.
  • Let them know that their opinions count too.
  • Create opportunities for players to explore, question and use their natural curiosity and imagination.
  • Allow players to experience success, regardless of the match result.

Let Them Play

  • All children should be given equal playing time on match day wherever and when ever possible.
  • By playing children in different positions in both practice and games, it will develop their game understanding.
  • Ensure players are given the chance to play a ‘game’ during every practice session.
  • Remember that ‘it is their game’ and it must not become dominated adults.

Technique Ability Skill

It is important to recognise the difference between technique and skill and the different requirements for developing each.
Technique: The basic movement of performing a physical activity combined into a pattern of movement.
Ability: The possession of the capability of performing a specific technique.
Skill: The ability to choose and perform the right techniques at the right time, successfully, regularly and with a minimum of effort.

Type of Practice.

  • There are three types of practice, and the type of practice used is dependant on whether you are looking to develop or refine techniques or skills.
  • Constant practice – involves a player repeating specific movements with the aim of acquiring, maintaining and refining the technique. In a constant practice a player focuses on learning the same technique under consistent conditions.
  • Variable practice – involves a player practicing a variety of techniques and skills under different conditions.
  • Random practice – involves a player practicing a variety of skills under different and changing conditions.

Technique Development

  • Technique can only be developed when players have contact with the ball, so try to give the players a ball each when learning a new technique where appropriate.
  • Repetition is essential when developing and refining technique.
  • Players will learn a technique at different rates so allow them to learn them unchallenged if necessary.
  • As players techniques improve, introduce additional challenges to ensure that they retain their motivation.
  • Practice Makes Permanent.

Skill Development and Decision Making

  • Practice should replicate the demands of the ‘game’ as much as possible. Give lots of opportunities to practice different aspects of the game (shooting, dribbling, tackling, passing, goalkeeping) in context.
  • Goals should be used in practice as often as possible to help players enjoyment and motivation.
  • Small-sided games to be played on appropriately sized pitches provide young players with opposition, decision-making and challenge, all of which helps their skill development.

Themed Practices.

Try and link the different parts of coaching practise together. For example:
Warm-up – players work in twos passing through a variety of different sized gates, using different techniques and surfaces of the foot.
Skill development – play a small-sided possession game (e.g. 3v1 or 4v2) on appropriately sized pitch.
Game – any 4v4 game with focus on passing or through-the-thirds game.

Setting Appropriate Challenges.

  • Set challenges in practice sessions. E.g use your weaker foot when you next can in practice.
  • Reinforce the learning focus form practice sessions on match day and ask players to use that in the game where possible.
  • Set players specific challenges that link to the theme of a recent practice session, which can be discussed at half-time and after the game. This can allow players to achieve the feeling of success even if the team loses.
  • During practice sessions try to ‘match’ players up in lots of different ways (e.g. tallest v tallest, tallest vs shortest) so to meet their individual needs.

Developing Fundamental Movement Skills.

Between the ages of 5-11 players have a ‘window of opportunity’ to develop their Agility, Balance, speed and Coordination, ABCs.
Coaches should be creative in their practice design and build in a physical benefit for the players to ensure that these are fun and maintain the players enthusiasm and motivation, e.g. tag games, running and dodging, throwing and catching, jumping and balancing.

Coaching Methods, Inventions, Styles.

Young players will not enjoy being shouted at, having there mistakes highlighted or having to stop playing to listen to the coach talk at length.
A vanity of coaching methods should be used to help players learn the game and coaches need to learn where and when each are appropriate. For example…
– Command (directive)
– Question and Answer
– Observation and Feedback
– Guided Discovery
– Trial and Error

Using Small Sided Game (SSG)

  • Players should experience a variety of formats of the game, played on appropriately sized pitches.
  • The game is essentially a series of different scenarios (1v1, 2v1, 1v2, 3v2 etc) and players should experience a variety of these game-like challenges during practice sessions.
  • Coaches should use uneven sides in a practice as a tool to challenge the players.

Don’t Forget How Young They Are

  • What the game of football looks like for a group of 7 and 8 year olds will be significantly different to the game played by older players and adults.
  • If a coach tries to ‘fast-forward’ young players to this level too quickly, important stages of development may be missed.
  • Young players should not be benchmarked against adult professional players.

Consider Young Players Self Esteem

Coaches should consider how their decisions will impact upon a young players self-esteem and motivation then their enjoyment of the game. For example, what would it feel like to repeatedly be used as a substitute?
Coaches should praise effort and positive behaviour as well as good play.

Things to Avoid

  • Do not impose unrealistic adult expectations on young players.
  • Do not be so intent on winning games that young players miss out on opportunities to learn and fall in love with the game.
  • Do not apply ‘out-of-date’ coaching methods with young players.
  • Avoid children standing in lines or queuing.

Coaching Recommendations.
Age Group 12-15 Years.

Coaches should continue to practice a positive learning environment (as recommended in the 5-11 section), ensuring methods and content are made appropriate to the age and ability of the players in this age range.

Ensure Practices are Realistic and Relevant.

  • Realistic passing, receiving and possession practices which create appropriate pressure, interference and distraction will help young players develop their awareness and game understanding.
  • Become more effective ‘off the ball’. Develop an understanding of movement to support team mates and how to create and exploit space.
  • Develop assessing skills (scanning, predicting) to form a ‘picture’ before receiving the ball.

Develop Tactical Understanding.

Introduce players to the 6 phases of the game:
– Attacking when opponents are ‘in balance’.
– Attacking when opponents are ‘out of balance’.
– Defensive play whilst ‘in balance’.
– Defensive play whilst ‘out of balance’.
– The finishing phases.
– Goalkeeping.

Introduce Position Specific Practices.

As players get older, they will begin to recognise the significance of practice sessions to their role within the team.
– Some specific positional practices should be introduced as appropriate.
– This should be balanced with experience playing and practicing in different positions.

Encourage Players to be Self-Reflective.

Players should be encouraged to reflect on their effectiveness in practice and games, and challenge to think how they may improve next time.
This process maybe carried out individually , in small groups or collectively.
It maybe enhanced if the team/player and the coach discuss realistic and achievable challenges and goals to work towards.

Encourage Creativity.

Coaches should continue to encourage players in this age group to be creative by designing challenging practice sessions.
Master the skill of posing effective questions to develop players active involvement in the training and learning process.
Encourage players to think, examine and evaluate to find their own solutions.

Coaching Recommendations for Senior Age Group (18+).

Provision and Attendance.

The club will endeavour to provide a weekly coaching session.
All members will be encouraged to attend regardless of ability or playing standard.

Decision Making.

Practice of the game should replicate the demands of the game as much as possible. Giving the players a view of as many different aspects of the game to improve their decision making.
Small sided games to be played on appropriately sized pitches relevant to the practice.


The Club will use Match > Analysis > Plan > Train > Play model to formulate the coaching sessions.
Players will be encouraged to be self-reflective and judgemental on their own performance.