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.
We coach in an age appropriate way and reject the adultification and commercialisation of youth sport. We see kids being driven from club to club hunting glory, we note ever higher costs, dubious promises of escalated pathways, or coaching secrets to success and we challenge the total absence of the child's voice in their own game.
Put simply, we believe that any child who wants to get better at anything needs to love what they do and they must be driven by their own self-motivation, not the desires of others.
Details about our child-led model can be found in the document 'Salisbury Rovers' Child-Led Play'.
We have also produced a club introduction to the Constraints Led Approach.
Our document 'How we coach' describes how we create and develop sessions across the age groups.
Our practice is widely shared in our podcasts, but, 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 provide the environment for learning and decision-making but we do not dictate it.
Children have a genuine voice and their views are sought an d acted upon. Their decisions are not directed by coaches - we facilitate the game and use game design, 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 often use the constraints led approach and we 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.
If you are looking for a model where kids in kits in teams in leagues are dictated to play to adult tactics, we are not the club for you.
PODCASTS AND FEATURES
Club founder and coach, Debbie Sayers, is often invited on to podcasts and webinars to share the club's approach. Some links are below:
Fighting the good fight for free play July 2019
Free play with Debbie Sayers, October 2019
De Correspondent article on Salisbury Rovers, November 2019
The benefits of free play with Debbie Sayers, July 2020
Interview with Debbie Sayers, July 2020
FA Women in to Coaching - Female Role Models with Debbie Sayers, March 2021
Debbie was part of a free play panel discussion with Paul Cooper, Director of the National Children's Football Alliance, and sports science academic Rick Fenoglio (author of the seminal Man Utd small sided games study) .