The FA People's Cup

Preparing for the FA People’s Cup? Read our coaching tips for small-sided preparation

Our head of coaching Les Howie provides his top coaching tips for teams preparing to be involved in the FA People’s Cup this year.

Tuesday 19 Feb 2019
FA head of coaching Les Howie takes a session with teams entering the FA People's Cup at St. George's Park

We have a big aspiration to produce creative, thinking players and it’s the same for small-sided or 11-a-side games.

What is fantastic about the FA People’s Cup is that it’s an opportunity for everyone to play football, whether you’re a veteran, male, female, disabled, it’s an inclusive competition which everyone can take part in.

The FA People's Cup 2019
  • First round: 22-24 February
  • Semi-Finals: 23-24 March
  • Finals: 27-28 April

There can only be one winner in each category, but that’s a by-product here as we’re trying to get more people enjoying the game.

At the launch of last season’s People’s Cup, we set up some training exercises around game situations and scenarios, to get the players to think and improve that game understanding about the times to attack and times to defend.

They’re also skills that you need across the game, they’re not particularly unique to five-a-side.

Good luck to all of the teams who are entering this year’s Cup, and here are my top tips for those teams currently preparing...

  1. Work on your ability to receive the ball in a tight area. Whether it’s a dribble, or a little one-two. So working on a good first touch and on your ability to pass the ball with accuracy is a key thing in combination play and make sure you keep moving into space.
  2. Spotting the right pass at the right time and moving the ball on quickly. In small-sided football, it’s all about combination play, one-twos and trying to create the space needed in a tight area. Don’t hang onto the ball for too long.
  3. The ability to strike the ball and keep it low, whether it’s a pass or a shot. You’ll need to keep it below head height in small-sided games and the goal- target is smaller so it’s important to practice keeping it below head height, make it hard for the opposition keeper.
  4. Work on how to defend correctly with discipline and attack with pace, as a team. The great thing with five-a-side or Futsal, it is a fluid game and people are constantly involved, whether that’s width and creativity as well as the goalkeeper!

The 2019 FA People's Cup kicks-off between Friday 22 and Sunday 24 February when the first round begins, at venues across the country.

Want to get involved in coaching? Have a look at the best FA coaching courses here.

Les speaks to members of Crawley Old Girls at St. George's Park


By Les Howie FA Head of Coaching