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Identify your building blocks 

Remember that your players may not have been exposed to what you're asking them to do. For example, a grassroots football team may never have run backwards. This means it's important to break things down. Try using technical skill games to teach the smaller parts of football. 


Give scenarios a go

Use realistic game scenarios to make sessions messy and unpredictable. Then, see how players deal with them. When using scenarios, leave your team alone as much as possible. If you do need to intervene, try using guided discovery. 


Create individual programmes

After sessions, try giving players tailored training programmes that explain what they need to work on. This provides the opportunity to improve their game away from training.  

Clarify pitch markings

Break down your pitch into different sections and give each area a name. This makes it easier for players to understand where you want them to be. Jonathan uses L1, L2, L3, R1, R2, R3 and middle thirds. 

The use of pitch markings helps the guides to accurately describe the players’ location and surroundings. 
The use of pitch markings helps the guides to accurately describe the players’ location and surroundings. 

Use different people's voices to help players understand where they are on the pitch. 

  1. The behind-the-goal guide. This individual gives information to attacking players. 

  2. The coach. This individual provides information on the middle area of the pitch and focuses on build-up play. 

  3. The goalkeeper. This individual works with your defence to explain what they need to know. 


Before speaking to a player, ask yourself, 'will this help the situation?' According to Jonathan, less is often more, and it's important to give players the chance to play. With this in mind, try not to interrupt – or make snap judgements – during a session or match.  

Focus your training on teamwork. And make sure your players understand that you can't win alone. Individuals have differing skillsets, but a winning team combines their attributes to create a complete picture.  

Try voice recordings

Before a game, Jonathan uses voice notes to give players specific tactical info and responsibilities. This allows time to take everything on board – plus the opportunity to revisit the recording at any time. So, why not give it a go?