"The starting point of development is the passion and ambition of a player. What I've learned over the years is that there is one characteristically decisive factor that decides 99 per cent of development - love for the game. Because if you don't love it, you will never work hard and play enough to become really great." Pepijn Lijnders, Liverpool FC, First Team Development Coach
We do not 'train' children.
Our coaching philosophy is unique and we try to set it out openly and clearly.
Our philosophy is child-led and we have created a model which evolves to meet the needs of the children at our club.
Our document 'How we coach'describes how we create and develop sessions across the age groups.
Essentially, our aim is to keep children in the game for the long-term and to support child ownership of their game. Our club sessions will be fun, relevant and age-appropriate. We allow children to make decisions which can shape future sessions.
We encourage learning and decision-making but we do not dictate it.
Children’s decisions are not directed by coaches - we facilitate the game and use questions are used to prompt and develop learning.
Free play is an essential part of this. So is social interaction. Our focus is the development of the whole child.
Because of our approach we ask parents to refrain from coaching from the sidelines - whether in club sessions or in matches. By this we mean directing how children should play (e.g. by telling them how to pass, who to pass to, when to shoot, where to run etc). There is no evidence that this promotes or encourages skill acquisition and it removes the child's ability to make (and learn from) their own decisions. More and more, experts agree that developing good decision-making skills is absolutely essential for success and, just as importantly, for independence and enjoyment.
Our coaching emphasis is on the design of our games which will present specific challenges. We also coach by asking questions to encourage thinking about the game as well as to help skill development. Please talk to us at any time if you would like to discuss this further.
Our club sessions will be held outside but we may move to indoor venues when the weather is bad. We hope to promote the development of futsal (indoor football), especially in the winter months. See our news page for forthcoming announcements about venues.
"Communication is key. There is no need to yell instructions from the sidelines. Instead create a coaching language that the players can use to guide themselves on what to do" Rinus Michels, FIFA Coach of the Century, 1999
On match days, games will be viewed as learning experiences. Development is crucial and more important than adults' bragging rights. Football is unpredictable and players must learn to be responsible for making the correct decisions during the game. We have clear match day standards.
In Academies, it is standard practice to avoid overcoaching from the sidelines. A stream of instructions/directions during the match is not helpful when young players are trying to concentrate on the game, We don't want 'remote control' coaches making decisions for players from the side lines. We need players to make decisions for themselves. Football is a fast, chaotic, dynamic game and we want to develop thinking footballers: players who want to try new things and develop their own ideas and formations. Our players will never be criticised for making 'mistakes'.
Learning is better facilitated by questioning not telling. We all learn by making our own decisions. Managers and coaches will help to develop skills by asking kids questions about what worked and what didn't in the game. Our focus is the development process and not the outcome of the game. The score may tell you very little about how individual players are progressing.
Finally, all kids deserve the chance to play. Kids develop at different speeds and no one learns by sitting out on the sidelines or never getting a game. All kids will get equal playing time. Let's keep kids in the game!