FA Skills Team Festival Event Programme

Tuesday 20th August 2013

This was part of a national celebration combining Sir Bobby Robson Football Day and 150 years of the FA. The weekend started last night, when I joined the other U8 and U9 coaches for a 3 hour coaching/training session, which included a documentary on young players, L'Equip Petit - The Little Team, http://youtu.be/76FEWcyFCwM and a 15 minute presentation on the ideas that were to be explored with the players today (please don't ask me about the other 2 h 45 minutes of activities: it would be cruel). 

Here's a brief summany of what our players went through.


These ideas were really about handing control of the game over to the kids- one quote was "how are we going to make creative players if we don't let them make decisions?". You'll understand that I found this.... challenging, being a bit of a control freak. But boy were my eyes about to be opened, and not just by our two newest recruits, Pannal Ash stars in the making (Isaac and William- you know who you are!).

The theme I'd chosen for the extra coaching from the FA Skills Team (name check here: thank you James, Ben, Dan, Emma and Dave! I hope I've got your names right, and that I didn't forget anyone) was "Position out of Possession"- what do we do as a team if the other team has the ball? The suggestion from the Skills Team was that we would start our first game by letting the players decide which positions they wanted to play, and that it didn't matter if we ended up with 5 strikers, we'd just see what happened. Yikes.

Credit to our players though: they went into a huddle and came out with two attacking mid-fielders, 2 defending mid-fielders and one goalie. Phew. And they played with the flair, skill and drive that we've all seen time and again, with the outcome you might have hoped for: a great start to the day.
We came off the pitch for our practice session delivered by the Skills Team, who really got the players thinking about how team shape can and should influence play. The Skills Team member, James, just handed 4 cones to the players and asked where the cones (players) would be if this was happening, and would it change as the game moved on- he kept the kids totally engaged, mostly just by letting them solve the problems. Then it was back into a match to put into practice what we'd just learned- and it really worked.

The highlight though came at the end of the day. The team were playing their 5th match and had clearly run out of steam (so we have finally found Daniel, Noah and Andrew's limits! 85 minutes of 5-a-side football with an hour of training thrown in!). They had picked a 1-1-3 formation (3 strikers, one defender, and the always stellar Jamie in net) which they already knew was really hard- and so it proved the second time out too. I gave them the usual pep talk at half time, then told them to take the positions they wanted to play and walked off the pitch. When I turned around, the 5 of them had gone into a spontaneous huddle that broke up when the Ref said it was time... they then did what they had decided on, which was to give the opposing team's goal keeper a workout in the second half, by taking shots at him from mid-field at every opportunity, including from every centre kick we had to take when they scored against our (deliberately, but unbeknownst to me) open back half. Not knowing what they had planned, I had to keep asking the players why they'd taken the shot when they did, and encouraging them to move closer to the goal... it didn't take long for them to break down in giggles, telling me what they were doing. And, tired as they were, those 5 players were laughing and smiling on that pitch, walking around in twos and threes with arms over others' shoulders, just having a really, really good time. Wow.

So there you have it: give them free reign, don't tell 'em what to do, let them have fun, and they'll come up with their own ideas and strategies and find out what does and doesn't work- for themselves. I bet Noah and Isaac will think twice about wellying the ball from behind the centre line in the future, and I bet we never see a 1-1-3 formation from these players again. We can tell them over and over what we know from our own experience, but the only way they'll know fire is hot is by getting burned.

Players: well done today, every single one of you. You all played your best, and you were great.
Paul KF


« News

News Archive

Looking for coaches

Tuesday 17th February 2015

The Inaugural Ball - Tickets now on sale!

Wednesday 03rd September 2014

Pannal Ash FC Welcome Meeting

Wednesday 03rd September 2014

FA Skills Team Festival Event Programme

Tuesday 20th August 2013

Yellow Eagles vrs Wetherby (21/10/2012)

Monday 22nd October 2012

Green Eagles vrs Wetherby (21/10/2012)

Monday 22nd October 2012

Red Hawks vrs Beckwithshaw (21/10/2012)

Monday 22nd October 2012

Blue Hawks vrs Beckwithshaw (21/10/2012)

Monday 22nd October 2012

Match Details - 21st October 2012

Thursday 18th October 2012

Eagles (Green and Yellow) vrs. Beckwithshaw (14/10/2012)

Sunday 14th October 2012

  1. Previous
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. Next

Displaying 1 to 10 of 12