One of the aims of this DNA resource is to help support coaches to produce a different type of player. A player that has a supreme confidence in their technically ability AND one who possesses great decision making capabilities is likely to have an impact upon the game at any level.
There is also a desire to produce the type of player that can change the course of the game with one piece of brilliance or creative play.
This must start in the Foundation Phase as it is the ideal time in the young player’s development for them to think and behave creatively. Our job is to provide the right environment to maximise creative returns.
Humans have the longest period of childhood compared to other primates. This extended period is for children to explore the world around them. For us it is the world of football we are introducing them to so avoid imposing your own adult version of the game onto the young player. Their thinking will not have been shaped in the way yours will have. They won’t recognise the same boundaries or barriers. For them there will be no limits to what is possible so it is important we embrace this and facilitate lots of experiential learning and problem solving.
This period of childhood should be seen as the research and development department for adulthood. This is the time for enjoyment, play and experimentation. Demand more from the players knowing that you have created the right environment where mistakes are seen as learning opportunities. Encourage players to express themselves and to try things when in possession of the ball.
The children are developing in all areas so be patient and forgiving of mistakes whilst guiding the child to learn from anything that does not quite go to plan. Be a coach who also notices when they do things well and provide practice activities and feedback to help and encourage them further. You will not increase creative returns or creative thinking if the environment is perceived as pressurised, restrictive or confining or if it is dominated by you, the coach.
Original Article: FA Education on 13 Jul 2017
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