Youth Award Module Level 1 – Day 2


Today’s been a good day and the course has featured a mixture of yet more insightful content, new games and interesting discussion with other coaches on the course. It’s also had the added benefit that I went straight from the course to coaching our Under 7s which gave me a chance to put something that I’ve learnt over the past two days in to practice.

So, what does day 2 of the Youth Award Module 1 look like?

We started, as most courses do, with a recap of the previous day to see what we’d remembered and what had stood out. For me, it was the following:

  • The number of background factors which contribute to a child’s social maturity / development
  • The different learning styles (specifically, examples of how to use them)
  • Developing an understanding of managing difference

Once we’d completed this recap work we then moved on to a section about motivation, which included some group work, theory & videos. Essentially, this is ensuring that we as coaches understand that children play almost entirely for enjoyment and to play with their friends so it’s key that coaches are making sure we’re providing training sessions which are fun.

Then, both before & after lunch we looked at some new games which focussed on passing and dribbling, yet much more importantly for me it helped look at ways in which a coach can “manage difference”. And by that I mean thinking of ways to make the game easier for some and more difficult to others whilst keeping the session moving.

We finished the day with a session on managing technical difference and here we largely focussed on the STEP principle which is a tool that coaches can use to help alter the difficulty of a game.

  • S – Space (Make an area larger/smaller, change its shape)
  • T – Tasks (Provide challenges to players, or give them tasks which make the game simpler for them)
  • E – Equipment (Add balls, remove balls, use of bibs etc)
  • P – People (Increasing/Decreasing team sizes to make games easier/harder)

So in summary, another useful day although I am slightly weary having been in the sun all day (careful what you wish for!). The games were good but I’m not sure how they’ll work given the size of the group we have – something for me to consider.

Training

When I got to training tonight I didn’t try any of the games but one thing I did apply was something I’d seen a coach do during a video clip, and that’s to throw questions in to a group of players. I had a group of 8 players and set-up a 4v4 SSG where the only rule was that each player needed to touch the ball once before their team could score. After letting them play for 5-10 minutes there had only been one goal so I got them together and asked them to go away in their teams and discuss what they could do to answer my following question, “What can you do to score more goals?”. When I went back in to talk with each team it was fascinating to find that both had come up with the same solution – to keep players wide and try to keep to a formation. In order to increase their chances of success I made the pitch wider and got them back playing again (and they went on to score a couple of goals between them).

I was surprised how receptive they were to the question and my only real challenge was getting them to stop discussing the possible answers 🙂 We got together for a quick chat at the end and I asked the players if they’d subsequently found it easier to score and they confirmed what I suspected would happen – it had been easier because they had more space which made it easier for them to get their passes in and create a shooting opportunity.

It always feels good when you’re able to apply something you’ve learnt on a course to a training session and it makes you keen to get back to training with the children as soon as possible. Unfortunately, we’ve got a game next week instead of training (which is great), but I’m then in India for 6 weeks with work so it’ll be June before I can apply more of this new found understanding!

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About Simon
Grassroots Football Coach

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