U17s Coach John Peacock has been working in the classroom with his players this week
England U17s Coach John Peacock believes preparing for matches in the classroom is just as important as work on the pitch.
Peacock’s Young Lions were training at St. George’s Park
this week ahead of the European Championship First Qualifying Round group matches in Estonia, which start against the hosts on Sunday
And while he and his coaching staff have been able to utilise the national football centre’s impressive playing facilities, the state-of-the-art educational facilities on-site have also played a major part in their preparation.
Peacock said: “The classrooms are very effective because obviously we can’t do all of our work on the football pitch.
“We have to be smarter with the downtime that we have and make sure that they are still ready for action for Sunday without putting too much energy into all the training sessions.
“Going into the classrooms we work off the board tactically, showing them what they did last time, the positives, and the areas where we need to improve on we do visually.
“We then get them to come up with some of the answers, which really helps with their learning.
“So our training is two-fold really – practical work with some theoretical work alongside it.”
A philosophy of inclusion and interaction is integral to Peacock’s training methods, with each of his players encouraged to take an active role in their own development.
By challenging his squad to engage with the coaching staff in problem-solving both on and off the pitch, Peacock says his players will benefit from improved decision-making skills during matches.
He added: “The philosophy is very important because it is not always about us telling them what they must do, they have to come up with the answers for themselves on the football pitch.
“We have got to give them the framework to work in but they have to make decisions on the pitch based on what they are seeing.
“So it is important that we ask questions of them and get them to come up with some answers.
“That happens both on the pitch in training and also off the pitch with the visual evidence we put in front of them.”
Ultimately, Peacock’s inclusive strategy hopes to see his players begin taking ownership for their own development.
If the players can embrace that responsibility, he is confident that they can begin to move away from a dependency on the coaching staff.
It is an important part of enriching the players’ football education. Peacock said: “We put up the word ‘ownership’, they have to take more responsibility and ownership for their development definitely.
“They have to take more ownership of looking at their DVDs after the games and looking at themselves as to where they can improve.
“They can also collect their thoughts on what they did the last time with us as well as their experiences they have had at their clubs from the last time we met until now.
“That way, when they come back again we can talk about that in one-to-one discussions.
“So it really is not all about us, it is about their thoughts and their views.”