Understanding the core elements of the England DNA

Guide 5 - 11

Help your players on their development journey by discovering the three core elements in the Foundation Phase that align to the England DNA.

The England DNA, as it applies to our senior and development teams, is based on five core elements.

These are:

  • Who we are.
  • How we play.
  • The future England player.
  • How we coach.
  • How we support.

Improving clarity about what these hexagons stand for will help engage everyone in the country who wants to see the England teams, at all levels, being successful and playing a style of football that we can all be proud of. Want a closer look? Click here for more information.

In the England DNA Foundation Phase content, we link closely to these hexagons. But we also acknowledge that our young players have a long journey ahead – which means that some of the priorities outlined in the hexagons are not yet relevant to their development.

With this in mind, Foundation Phase DNA focuses on three core elements.These elements form the basis of our help, support and guidance. They capture the essence of the five hexagons, while reflecting players’ stage of development in the Foundation Phase.

1. The developing child

This element places the child at the centre of everything we do, so that their individual needs are met in order to maximise the development possible during the early years of their life. At this stage, no one knows who will go on to become an international player or who may be successful in another sport, so meeting the child’s needs (and not those of football at this point) is our priority.

2. Sport, physical activity and the game of football

This element acknowledges that football is one of the first sports many young children will try and that this early engagement is important. The Foundation Phase coach has a responsibility to ensure that this introduction is a rewarding, enjoyable and memorable one.

If this happens, it will help to establish a positive relationship with sport, physical activity and, in this case, football. This then increases the chance that children will engage in a lifelong love of sport and a healthy lifestyle – regardless of what the future holds for them.

We also support the view that playing a variety of sports during the Foundation Phase years is very beneficial: it allows children to experience different coaching styles, different movement demands, different tactical problems to solve, and different techniques and skills to be acquired. This is great for their overall development – before the opportunity to specialise at a later age.

The views of parents

3. The relationship between the two

This element is aimed at all coaches, parents and volunteers who support children in the Foundation Phase. The relationship that children form with sport is heavily influenced by the knowledge and expertise of the adults involved at the first point of contact. If you understand children, their developmental journey and how to create the best teaching and learning environment, you can have a very positive impact upon their future choices.

Our DNA Foundation Phase content will help develop you into a coach who is fully aware of the issues that relate to the development of children – and will support you in providing a ‘magical’ experience for them all.

To learn more about Foundation Phase DNA, click here.

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