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Coaching Development BHR Coach Development Evening 18th November 2010

Pre-match Preparation

The main focus for the evening was pre-match preparation building on discussions inspired by Peter Trevivian's recent Essex CFA Coaches Association Event (pictured left) that we hosted and the article by John Allpress. Information on pre-match diet and hydration is already on the website under the "Coaching" section.

Agreed approach for pre-match preparation for Beacon Hill Youth teams was:

  1. Arrival, straight into ball work, working in a set area, lots of touches, gradual build up of intensity. Add in some decision making. The message is "we are here to play football" This will include the coach setting the "big picture": reminders of how we play, praising good first touches, passes etc. If players haven't met in the changing rooms then this is when we allow them to connect and chat.

  2. Pause for general welcome, hydration and stretches. Come together as a team, players to lead stretches if appropriate. This is when the coach reminds players of what the focus has been during training and that we're looking for these to be applied during the match. This is the "little picture" and can be directed at the team, small groups (like defenders) or individuals. Phrases like "try to pass accurately" or "have a go at dribbling" will take the pressure away, if they have a go, they have already achieved. Use lots of "we are a team" messages.

  3. Set up a small sided game. For example: 3v3s to cross the end line; 5/6 in possession, 2/3 hunting; three teams of 3/4, two teams in possession, one hunting. (NB Keepers now do own preparation, details to follow). This will increase the tempo and replicate match situations allowing them to tune in to calls, signals, pass and move etc. During the activity coaches give feedback on positive aspects.

  4. Brief directed talk from the coach. Only use positive messages. Only put in their minds what you want them to try and do. For example, should I say to you now as a player "don't give the ball away" what picture pops immediately into your mind?!

  5. Short individual time for players. They can work alone or in groups. They should be doing something that they will do in the match that is specific to their play: headers, short passes, long passes, throw ins, corners, shots etc.

  6. Team time, captain calls them together, they have a chat. Coaches already left the pitch, it's their game.

  7. Play the match. Have fun. Play the best they can.

This may sound a lot but I do this with the First Team and it takes about 40 minutes, with younger players you can shorten the activities and there will be less to be said. It works! Give it a go, adapt it, make it work for you and the team. Let me know how you get on.

Merfyn Roberts. BHR Player Development Officer




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