Player development: inspirational opportunities and experiences

Player development: inspirational opportunities and experiences

In this blog, we explore the key messages from our recent ‘player development: inspirational opportunities and experiences’ webinar, hosted by Kelsey Byrne (women's national coach developer) and Lee Brown (regional coach development officer).  

Creating inspirational opportunities for your players is very important. The right environment for your players to thrive and learn, will help your players to become more skilful. We, as coaches, have a real responsibility in laying the foundations, the building blocks for each player to improve on their individual development journey, whatever that looks like.  

Game formats 

Players need opportunities to try new things, and this is why the practices you put on for your players are so important. Allowing players to experience different game formats is a great way to allow your players to try new things, as suggested in the video below by Lee. The data is taken from our recent DNA Cup, where 5-11-year-olds came to St George’s Park to play games on different surfaces and sized pitches with differing amounts of players on the pitch. So, what different opportunities were afforded to these players? Check out this video. 


The six capabilities 

Something that is really important for you to think about when coaching, is how to observe your players. How do you recognise individual player capabilities and individual development needs? The six capabilities framework is a great tool to encourage you to start noticing skilful actions of your players, both in possession and out of possession. What are they good at, and what do they need help with? Once you have recognised these things, you can start to think deeper about the opportunities you can provide to help players turn their strengths into super strengths but to also improve on those things they need to continue to develop. Listen to Kelsey below and start to think about how you can incorporate the six capabilities into your own coaching environment.  


Providing opportunities and receiving skills 

Now you have mastered using the six capabilities framework, it is time for you to start thinking about how you can help players to experience different versions of the game that will support their development within a chosen action. The action we put under the microscope in our webinar was receiving. Receiving is a really important in possession core skill. Not only can you receive a pass from a teammate, but you can also receive from a loose ball or from an interception. The skill needed to receive in different areas of the pitch, with different types of opposition pressure, can be quite tough for players to master. But how can we help them to master it? Below, Kelsey and Lee take you on a journey with how they would provide inspirational opportunities for their players to work on their receiving skills.  

Case study one

Case study two


Opportunities and practice design 

We are onto the last step! You hopefully now are able to recognise that your player needs further development with how they receive. You have been able to recognise what opportunities your players need to have to ensure they excel at this in possession core skill. Now, it is time for you to consider how to utilise a variety of ways to adapt your practice to allow your players to experience different ways to receive and develop as a player. What do different receiving practices look like, that are linked to the real game we see our players play every weekend? Check out a couple below: 

Case study one: practice design  


Case study two: practice design 


Take home messages 

Hopefully this blog has given you some real food for thought with how you can look to provide inspirational opportunities for your players. By recognising their needs, understanding how to create positive experiences for your players to continue to develop, and how you can do this through relevant practice design.  


You can watch the full Webinar here

You can access our highlight montage here.   

If you have any questions about any of this then please get in touch below.