DNA Insights Podcast Episode 5

Hi coaches

 I hope you have enjoyed these five episodes, myself and Lauren certainly had a great time putting them together. One question from me relating to that free play - deliberate practice continuum.

"If you have limited time with your players then in that hour long session, how much of it would be free play with fewer interruptions and stoppages?"

There is no right or wrong answer as it depends upon so many things but in order to get massive returns regarding independent decision making, realistic practice, creativity and skill we must consider what our training and playing priorities are.

It would be great to hear your thoughts.

Thanks so much for listening to our podcasts and we at the FA and the digital team wish you all the best as you strive to develop some great footballers and some great young people as well.



  • Hi Pete

    Thanks for the 5 Podcasts really enjoyable and informative listen.

    We have now returned to games in a ‘competitive’ u11 league so it’s important to keep reminding myself on these key messages.

    Our games have always been competitive and the team have always wanted to win but not over development.   Even in the foundation years with non competitive football it is challenging for the DNA messages to become priority but the message is definitely spreading with all your hard work.

    I believe moving into published league tables etc will not help the momentum of your work and unfortunately I can see teams wanting to focus even more on the short term result over the long the term goals of creating the skilful, creative player.

    Really interesting in episode 4 where you touch on mixing games and playing environments.  I looked to arrange a training game with my daughters team (a few years older).  Unfortunately our local FA rules don’t allow mixing age gaps more than a year so this couldn’t happen.  It’s a real shame as I believe the benefits would of been great for all having to adapt to a different physical and technical opponent.  I obviously know both teams well and have a good relationship with the other coach so the environment would of hopefully been ideal!

    We do share a full 3G pitch at training with another team (same age) and at times play a large format game on the full pitch or a mini tournament using both half of pitches which the boys love and works wellThumbsup tone1. Although I start every session with SSG and recently started using Futsal balls this mixing with the other team gives another variation to their free play time.

    Thanks again


  • Jay, thanks for the post and it sounds like you are well on board with many of our key messages. There will always be things that mean that we can't try different things (like the mixing of ages greater than a one year banding - even if you know it would probable be OK) but if you understand the reasoning behind it and then look to provide other similar challenges then it shows you understand the concept. The feedback from your players and the increase in enjoyment levels is a great indicator that these informal nights can be a productive addition to the opportunities you provide and may balance off the more competitive elements in the league. Players will need both so we must not vilify competition but we should be skilled in how we view it, use it and manage it so that our players benefit from it rather than being destroyed by it.

    Glad you enjoyed the podcasts, Lauren and I had a great time doing them and if they help just one or two coaches then they have been a success.

    Take care and keep learning and developingThumbsup


  • Hi Pete,  inspired by your approach, we've made another new video to encourage adults to let kids make their own decisions and show how it can be very confusing for kids trying to deal with lots of instructions - hopefully you'll like it - www.youtube.com/watch

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