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England women's national football team line-up for a photo during the  FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023

Every international tournament seems bigger than the last. Attendances, TV coverage and the quality of teams grow from one to the next.  

Yet, the most significant sign of success will be the future impact on the game at all levels.  

Here are some ways to use a tournament to inspire your sessions. 


International tournaments can boost engagement from everyone. Maximise this opportunity by mixing sessions or fixtures with your club's boys' and girls' teams. Don't just focus on one group.  

To do this, you could play a themed tournament and challenge your team to emulate their favourite players.

Successful sides at international tournaments 'manage' games well.  

Winning sides are always willing to change their approach to win. For example, midfielders drop deep late in games to add more defensive cover.  

Young players don't need a lot of tactical work in training. But helping them adapt to different situations in games will help them as they develop.  

Theme your matches within training to emulate a scenario from the tournament. For example, it's the World Cup final, and one team is 2-1 up with five minutes to go – but they've just had a player sent off. This is a creative way to work on game management, and the players will have fun taking on the challenge.


Over recent years, there has been a focus on creating a 'family' culture across England squads at tournaments.

So, while football skills are important, you should also develop communication and social skills.

Try incorporating problem-solving activities and player-led sessions to encourage teamwork. This will promote togetherness and enhance the bond between your players, improving team culture.

Penalties can play a crucial part in international tournaments.

Young players love taking penalties. Finish training with a penalty shootout as a fun way for players to practice this part of the game.

Consider using a penalty shootout as an engaging arrival activity, too.

Avoid players queuing up waiting for a turn by putting them in pairs with a ball and a goal (or a couple of cones). This will maximise returns and get them all practising at the same time.

Physical performance from winning teams is always a standout feature.

And, physical preparation is an important aspect of player development at all ages. However, we should keep young players away from 'old school' pre-season training.

So instead of laps of the pitch, use multi-sport activities such as tag and dodgeball. They're great ways to develop your players' movement skills. And they're loads of fun, too.