DNA Insights Podcast Episode 4

Hi coaches

I hope you enjoyed episode 4 and the deeper dive into some of the things we would like you to consider as you plan your weekly sessions.

To encourage further discussion, in your experience, what things have worked really well for you and your players regarding fun and engagement? Sharing these ideas will help us all I am sure.

I love my "Which ball is best" game as a starter activity and it immediately poses some game problems for the players to solve. If you haven't seen it yet, make sure you visit the Boot Room to get the session plan and watch the video.

I look forward to your replies. 


  • A thought on what has worked really well for me. What ever the game, see every child doing something well, and recognise this. Use their name first, then the specific thing they’ve done well. Try not to distract them with your comment and don’t expect an acknowledgment - hopefully they’ll just keep playing with an extra spring in their step.

    Enjoyed the reflection on ‘the 1 thing’ important to include in your coaching .... ‘Everything’ GrinThumbsupClap  Aside from the variety in their play, my 1 thing would be ensuring every child finishes the session knowing they are important.

    Thanks for another great listen.

  • James, thanks for the post and you identify a great "1 thing". It sounds like your sessions are full of praise and encouragement and this is a great place to start. We know that over time we reduce the praise so that it is focussed less on the everyday (things that players should be able to do) and more on things that are above and beyond our expectations. Thanks for commenting. Pete

  • what a thought provoking podcast guys.

    you got me right from the off talking about taking time to greet the children.

    Really important in my ever growing list of things to think about, especially as in this day and age we are seeing alot more children with "hidden disabilities" which highlights anxiety,withdrawal, seperation etc. These barriers are more often than not seen in children in main stream schools. 

     But is also something as coaches we should take more attention to understanding how to talk to our youngsters were coaching and not to think they are just not interested or come to our own conclusion they dont wnat to be there because of their demeanor.

    moving on to mixing ages, in the hand book it says that a player can play up a year; but to play down a year it has to be exceptional circumstances ie physical development delays.

    Some of these kids have their birthdays in june, july, august which for some can give them a disadvantage mentally and physically, which could ultimately harm their future development and more importantly their love for the game.

    In your opinion do you think its about time the FA changed the way they choose the age playing years taking into account age bias.

    thanks again both keep them coming


  • Lee, thanks for your comments they show a real depth of understanding and care for the experiences we should provide for our youngest players. I am glad you picked up on the "greeting" of the children. It is such a lovely thing to do and immediately sets the tone for everything that follows. Regarding age groups, this will always be a bone of contention as the Relative Age Effect (RAE) (which is what you describe when you talk about late born children (June, July August months)) can (not always) be disadvantaged in sport through no fault of their own. In the podcast I suggest mixing the ages at the same club and this should be done with some thought as it is a great way to level up the differences in ages and abilities to give every child games and experiences where their needs are being considered above all else. I have been invited to be part of a UEFA group that will look at the RAE. Any feedback I have I will gladly share. Keep posting. Pete

  • thanks pete,

    its great news that RAE is being looked at.

    thanks again lee

  • Lee, yes, it is a major factor across pretty much every sport so an in-depth look into how we might overcome it is certainly worth the time. As things develop (we haven't started in earnest yet) I am happy to share.

    Cheers. Pete