DNA Insights Podcast Episode 2

Hi coaches, hopefully you are engaging with this forum having listened to and enjoyed episode 1 of our DNA Insights podcasts.  With the release today of the second episode I want to pose a couple of questions to get the discussion going. Here goes:

  • The FA is really going after the development of more skilful players. The podcast supports this approach so what else would coaches need to get them on board with this very important initiative?
  • What might the biggest barriers be to this initiative becoming successful and having a major influence on how we develop our youngest players?

This last part is not a question but a request for coaches to share their stories and their own experiences if they have decided to adopt this methodology. This could be a very powerful thing and will help other coaches understand that they are not alone and that this approach is such a positive and enjoyable way to work with young people.

I look forward to reading your responses and hope that you enjoy episode 2.

Take care 


  • Again enjoyed the clear messaging - made me reflect on how I’ve coached in the FP and how/what I wold change. I wonder if events like the DNA futsal event at SGP (2019) could be streamed on YouTube for a wider audience and reaching more coaches... I remember watching a young lad from Wigan and his connection with the ball just in ‘warm-up’ play - it was memorable to watch.

  • James, good point and one for FA Education/Learning to consider. If we want to influence widely then we have to enter the real world of digital learning and, for me, this should be embraced because I firmly believe our key messages are great for the development of all our young children. We should be looking to share this with a much wider audience than the niche market we have on here and the Boot Room. Food for thought. Thanks for your post and its good to hear you are a Futsal fanThumbsup  Pete

  • Another great listen, thanks Pete and Lauren! I’m definitely seeing the benefits for following this approach through the foundation years. Although many challenges its worth persisting with to see their confidence grow and in turn see what they can achieve when they are given the freedom with the ball.  Communication of these key messages to the parents and anyone involved with the team has been so important over the years.  We will be moving to under 12 next season and feel we are in a good place as we move into the youth development phase!

  • Jason, this is great feedback and I am so glad you have chosen to consider our Foundation Phase DNA key messages. One other important consideration for you and your players: skill development is not complete because you are leaving the FP. It is vital that you continue to challenge your players through small number practices and formats so that the development of their individual skill and game understanding continues. There is always the potential that this aspect could be hijacked by team shape, formations and positions. Please avoid this as there is still, so much more individual development to come and it is possible to combine this with the move to the YD phase of development. Cheers and keep in touch. Pete

  • Another informative listen, in my short couple years of coaching,  ive only been involved at YDP age, but after next season will be starting from the beginning. What i have found at the YDP age is how important words are from a coach;  kids are impressionable and if they think the coach wants and likes the off the ball incidents and bullying tactics on the field then thats what they will no doubt aspire to do. And i am still seeing that kind of coaching sadly which means those young players are being restricted. like you said Pete their capabilities cannot be comprised ( at any age). The physical, masculine football player can be introduced at a young age, but in basic footballing skills, I.E sheilding the ball, if your between the ball and the player  then they cant get it. "stay on the ball". But at the youngest age for me the majority of the time they would ALL have a ball, and would be asked to keep that ball all season at training and at home. If im honest its quite a scary thought having to coach at the youngest of ages but sadisticaly im looking forward to it.

    good job guys keep them coming 

  • Lee, thanks for posting your thoughts. I totally agree, it can be quite daunting when faced with coaching the youngest players. That is why it is important to enter their world not drag them into tThumbsup adult world of football. The players are in a great period of development for acquiring new skills and learning new things so allow them to explore the possibilities rather than restrict their thoThumbsuphts and ideas. Fun and enjoyment will always be important, regardless of age so include lots of games and small number practices where players can begin to understand the component parts of the gamThumbsupand gain a better idea of how to be successful in 2v1, 2v2 and 2v3 etc situations. This knowledge and ability will be useful whatever format they play and will also help develop their individual maThumbsupery of the ball, their body and the decisions they make. Good luck, Lee and thanks againThumbsup Pete

  • Hi Pete,

    This is such a great resource.  As a chairman of a grassroots club, we've just recruited 3 new coaches to work at the FP and this is such a valuable resource and works as a great introduction to coaching in a really manageable and accessible way.  I have shared it with them along with one of absolute favourite pearls of wisdom from you "success is getting them to keep coming back" which i think ALL coaches coming into the game should live by.  Can't wait for the next episode!

  • Thanks Pete. The intent is to carry on developing players as we are. Although all games have been naturally competitive the league will now be ‘officially’ competitive and results published at u12.   This will probably add pressure for the other factors formations, shape etc but I look forward to the challenge! Jay

  • Daniel, thanks for the positive feedback and I am so glad the podcast episodes have been of use. Sharing them is a great idea as it can bring everyone at your club to the same page and from there you can develop your club identity from some very sound age appropriate foundations. Great to have you with us on this as we need to try to influence across all levels of the game. Take care. PeteThumbsup

  • Jason, thanks for the post. You will be faced with dealing with one of the most critical periods of development. The move into the YD phase AND the onset of puberty and adolescence with all the issues that this will inevitable bring. You will be tested to the full but you must remain true to your beliefs. You might be playing a larger format of the game but the development of skill through small sided games/formats should continue in training as they will equip the players with lots of the things they need to play larger formats. Skilful development is not complete and with boys entering puberty they will have to re-learn how their body and their individual skills works in a shape that is, for some,  rapidly changing. I am sure you will meet the challenge and keep posting as we want you to share your experiences and feel supported as well by the coaching community.