To help your understanding of this approach, Ash Higgins, Foundation Phase lead at the club, has outlined their key priorities for young player development.
Foundation Phase philosophy: Playing philosophy
Love the ball - we want to expose the children to dealing with the ball in a variety of environments, but the message is clear: love having the ball and be exciting when in possession.
Children love the game, coaches love the children - the coaching programme has to enthuse the child to want to come back and develop a love of the game. We do what they like, as well as what we think they need. (We don’t get many of the ‘when are we having a game’ questions).
We are looking:
- to develop a love of the game in our players and for them to become creative thinkers
- to promote active learning within various environments leading to independent decision-making
- to produce players that have complete control of their body and have both capacity and capability through a multi-movement programme (physical flexibility and adaptability)
- to help players deal with the stresses of games and learn how to cope in these situations (psychological robustness).
To help provide a variety of experiences we have introduced the following to our games programme:
- Variety of opposition – grassroots football clubs, English category 1-3 academies and international teams.
- Variety of formats such as 3v3, 4v4, futsal, 6v6, 7v7, 8v8 and 9v9.
- Different pitch sizes – futsal, 30x15, 7v7 small and tight or long and wide.
- Themed games nights – World Cup shirt night, powerplay, in and out of balance, and inter-club formats.
- Two games programme days and two training programme days per week for each age group.
- Futsal on a six-week cycle.
- Competitive festivals each half-term.
Our programme adds value to overall development through:
- a holistic approach – multi-sports in our programme adds the confidence to learn other sports as well as physical and psychological experimentation
- trips abroad – provides social development within their group but also experiences of language and cultures in other countries
- a fun and varied games programme allowing players to experiment within different games and helping them to develop their personal learning within each format
- having a ‘leadership team’ in each age group who sets and reinforces positive behaviour and also helps to set a culture of behaviour within the phase
- allowing the freedom to be expressive and ensuring ball-rolling time and enjoyment is at a maximum.
To learn more about Foundation Phase DNA, click here.