3 things all effective Foundation Phase coaches do

Guide 5 - 11

The England DNA wants to inspire coaches to become excellent teachers of the game through a deeper understanding and knowledge of the young players they coach.

We also want coaches to engage children in a way that makes them feel good about themselves, their capabilities and their worth. 

This starts with the experience we provide during our training sessions and matches.

So, what are our three 'top tips'?

1. Allow enjoyment
Children of this age come to football for a whole variety of reasons that will include a love of, or fascination with, football. It’s very important that this first experience of football, physical activity and ‘coaching’ is an enjoyable one, as it could lead to a lifelong love of being healthy and active.

The England DNA acknowledges the importance of how young children feel and how this can affect their attitude towards sport and physical activity. A coach who is skilled at engaging the children in an enjoyable and age-appropriate way is likely to create an environment that children will enjoy and develop within.

2. Be positiveWhen working with the children, try to notice when they listen, do things well, are quick to do what you ask, help each other and get better at things. You might say that this has nothing to do with being a football coach – you couldn’t be more wrong. It has everything to do with working effectively with young children, as it will help to shape their behaviour and attitude for the future.

The England DNA asks parents and coaches to be positive where possible: focus on what children can do, instead of reminding them of what they can’t do – yet.

3. Smile a lot  Children are likely to form a stronger bond and relationship with people who smile (and make them smile). The development of U5s is driven (largely) by their sensory motor system – and how they ‘feel’ during this stage is very significant. If we want the children to develop a life-long love of sport and physical activity, then this first introduction should be memorable, exciting and enjoyable.

These tips may seem simple However, they're the key to preparing your team to play, enjoy and develop through football.

The England DNA explains that, to help every child to feel safe and ready to learn, your coaching should be enthusiastic, supportive, positive and kind. You should also make sure that you provide challenging and enjoyable activities. By following this approach, you'll help to make the Foundation Phase a memorable experience for your players. 

Next steps
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To learn more about Foundation Phase DNA, click here.

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