When a child attends a weekly football training session, their coach is always striving for one thing – improving the performance of their players to ensure that they make the most of their talent. At We Make Footballers, we have a clear set of philosophies designed to ensure our franchise owners and coaches make a real difference to the physical and mental footballing abilities of the young players we coach across England. Here, we give you a look into how we use football coaching, analysis, feedback and good communication to improve performance – with the ultimate aim of increasing standards amongst the next generation of footballers and helping England win a World Cup.
What is the purpose of football coaching?
The purpose of football coaching is to improve the performance of their players, whether they are Pep Guardiola working at Manchester City in the Premier League or the manager of the Dog & Duck in Sunday League Division 7.
When it comes to working with children, then this role is even more important. Younger players are impressionable, learning the game and developing the skills they need to be successful. The right coaching style can unlock their potential.
Every We Make Footballers franchise owner and coach is given training and undertakes qualifications to help maximise the potential of every child they work with. To give you some idea of how we do this, we are going to look at how our approach to football coaching helps improve performance.
How can coaching improve performance?
A lot of people may think the answer to the question of how can coaching enhance performance to be simple. You merely teach a player a skill, be it a Maradona turn or how to accurately play a 30-yard pass – and that is all there is to it.
And whilst helping players hone such abilities is important, there is much more to it than that. We Make Footballers take a multi-faceted approach, designed to improve players across all areas of the game so that they have the best opportunity to achieve their goals.
At We Make Footballers, our coaches have the philosophy ‘Practice makes permanent’ printed on their training kits. What we really mean though is good practice makes permanent.
If a player is taught a skill incorrectly and then practise it relentlessly in this way, they will master said skill ineffectively. Breaking bad habits is tough, which is why professional demonstration of how to perform a task in an optimum way is so important.
To ensure that all demonstrations and training exercises provided by We Make Footballers are of a professional standard, all our coaching teams are FA Qualified. They, therefore, know how to deliver demonstrations in the optimum way to improve the skill level and develop the playing style of the players they work with.
As important as professional demonstrations is individualised feedback. Coaches who can effectively communicate what a player is doing correctly at the same time as offering constructive criticism for what is not going well will help improve performance.
We Make Footballers classes are small in size for precisely this reason. We work to a 1:10 ratio, where there are no more than 10 children per coach.
This allows coaches to monitor every child closely, offering incredibly detailed feedback and devising training plans to help a player improve their game on an individual level.
Children progress at different rates. An individualised approach to coaching allows children to continuously improve no matter what their current ability level.
If they are more advanced, they will not be held back by players struggling. And if they are struggling, they will not be ignored or left behind by the focus being on the better players in the group.
One popular view of good coaching is that it involves identifying weaknesses in the game of a player and improves those areas to increase overall ability.
Whilst this is true, the very best coaches will focus on strengths as much as weaknesses. Better performances can come from continually improving areas where a player already excels with the aim of making them even greater.
There is a reason why David Beckham would relentlessly practise taking free kicks, despite being the best in the world at set pieces. Lionel Messi constantly works on his dribbling, even though there is nobody as good as the Argentinian maestro at running with the ball.
This relentless thirst is what sets the best players in the world apart from the rest. The best sports coaches share that view. They look for improvements everywhere and refuse to let their players rest on their laurels, even when it may appear as if they have mastered a skill.
It is for this reason that We Make Footballers offer one-on-one coaching, to truly make the most of the potential of a player by improving every aspect of their game through ongoing performance analysis.
Football coaching empowers a child to take charge of their own development and drive their own improvement in addition to what the coach teaches them in weekly sessions.
This is done through the monitoring of performance and feedback given to the player. A child can see the progression they are making as a player and realises that the training they are receiving is helping them hone their skills. This motivates them to make further progress.
Having taught a player these skills and the drills and practices needed to improve them, the coach enables the child to go away and continue learning and training in their spare time.
Not only is this good for improving performance, but empowering a child to take responsibility for their training also breeds independence.
This is important as when a player is on the pitch in a game situation, they must make decisions for themselves. Helping them develop the confidence to do so will lead to better independent thinking and a better player.
On the subject of decision making, let us take more of a look at how effective coaching can help improve the choices a player makes on the pitch.
Football is not like chess, where you can learn a playbook by heart and have a set of moves to create or get out of a certain situation. Games are unpredictable and players can find themselves in one of a million different scenarios.
How they react to the situation they are in often determines how successful they are. The better decisions they make, the better player they become. So, decision making is very much an area in which coaching can help improve performance.
Teaching a child new skills focuses on repeating the action over and over until it has become mastered and is second nature – hence our practice makes permanent ethos.
Yet that only gets you so far. In addition to training a player to Cruyff turn or shoot with their weaker foot, they also need to be put into situations where they can see whether they should be Cruyff turning or instead of playing the way they are facing.
When it comes to shooting with the weaker foot, perhaps the better decision would be to take a touch and set themselves onto their stronger side if there is the necessary time and space to do so?
Throwing players into drills or game situations whereby they are made to consider the best action improves decision making.
This is also where learning through failure comes in. If the decision they make ends up being the wrong one, then the player will know for next time to chart a different course with an improved outcome.
Better emotion management
As well as the physical side of the game, the best coaches understand the improvements that can be driven from the mental side. Alongside decision making, better management of emotions is another way to improve player and team performance.
If a child is interested in winning and nothing else, then the setback of things not going well can be disastrous. A coach who can show that there is value in losing from the lessons it teaches will create better players with more robust emotions.
Instead of throwing in the towel at defeat, players develop renewed commitment to not make the same mistakes again.
They become more accepting of constructive criticism and understand that the reason a coach is communicating where they need to improve alongside offering praise is that it will make them a better player.
In the long run, children who end up being the best players are always those who are the most committed. They want to work hard whenever they turn up to weekly team training sessions, listen to what the coach has to say and practise football away in their own free time.
If a coach can spark a commitment to the sport in their players, then they are helping them to improve their skill level above what can be taught in the time that training takes place.
The best way to foster that commitment is by helping a child see the progress they are making so that they understand the benefits that come from regular practice and sticking with something – even if they may not succeed at first.
What do you gain from coaching?
We have looked at how good coaches improve their players. But what does the coach gain from it all?
Clearly, the satisfaction from seeing a child grow and flourish thanks to your efforts is one of the biggest reasons why a career in coaching kids’ football appeals to so many.
There are other benefits to be had from setting up your own football coaching franchise, however. Here are some of the ways in which a coach’s own skills and career can be improved by taking the plunge and getting into football.
Making a difference
Football changes lives. Not only do you help to unlock a child’s potential and foster a love of the sport that can stay with them forever, but football coaches help kids reach their goals.
For some, that will be getting into a local grassroots team. For others, it will be the offer of a place at a professional club’s academy and the beginning of their journey to potential stardom.
As England’s leading football coaching academy for children aged 4 to 12, We Make Footballers have established links that help their players take those steps beyond their weekly training sessions.
Being able to help set a child on the road to becoming a professional footballer is about as life-changing as it gets.
It is not just the children you coach who learn and develop new skills – We Make Footballers coaches also go on a journey of discovery, enhancing their own abilities across a range of areas.
Coaching is obviously one area of improvement. Alongside FA badges, coaches undertake separate We Make Footballers qualifications designed to further enhance their skills.
Your leadership skills too will develop as you grow into the role and become more experienced. Coaches become more effective communicators both in one-on-one situations and in group settings.
Ready to become a coach?
Following the approach that We Make Footballers have developed over the past 10 years, our franchise owners improve player performance through football coaching each and every day.
And we want to help more children achieve their footballing goals, changing lives in the process. Franchising opportunities exist for those wanting to run their own football coaching business and reap all the benefits that come with it.
To find out more about how We Make Footballers and football coaching careers, please see the We Make Footballers Franchise website and book a call with one of our team.