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 


  • 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

  • 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

Reply Children
  • 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.



  • Hi Pete,

    Hope all well just a quick post to update you a year on!

    In our first season with league tables and all results published at u12 my coaching philosophy remained the same to encourage playing  with freedom and creativity.  Also each player played different positions for the season.  This may of had an impact on games results but for the players development it was a great success!

    On planning for this season moving to 11v11 I am keeping to the same principles.

    Now results and league tables are published I have seen development getting overlooked for that must win at an even greater level.   Naturally players / parents seem to want to play for the best teams in the top leagues.  I understand players change teams and I’m sure the majority will benefit from this in the right environment. My point really is that at still a young age u13 it’s more challenging to keep the momentum for the foundation DNA principles.

    Listening to one of your recent podcasts it was pleasing to hear that there is talk of increasing the age range for the foundations years by 3 or 4 years. I feel this would be a real help for coaches to continue coaching in a way  allowing development of creative and skilful players.  If this is the case then slowing the progression to 11v11 would go hand in hand with this!

    This season at u13 I’m looking to focus around the key capabilities you highlight positioning, scanning, timing , movement, techniques, disguise.  Any pointers to material which helps support this through the season would be much appreciated!!

    Thanks again for all your coaching guidance and posts on all the different platforms it is of help