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A girl in a yellow and blue kit runs with the ball under pressure from a green bibbed opponent to her right.

The Greater Game is a football-led health and wellbeing programme. It encourages people aged 12 to 16 to make one healthier choice per week. Using research from England national teams, University College London, and Nuffield Health, it focuses on four core elements:  

  • moving well  
  • eating well 
  • sleeping well
  • thinking well. 

These combine to create a programme that covers all aspects of health and wellbeing. 

What is The Greater Game?

Watch this short video to learn more about The Greater Game.

The UK is facing a health crisis in young people. Obesity is on a 30-year rise, and mental health issues among young people continue to grow. In 2020, UNICEF released a report on the wellbeing of children. The report looks at the mental wellbeing, physical health, and skills of children across the globe. 

It doesn't make for pretty reading. Out of 41 countries, the UK sits 27th across all ages, and last for 12-to-16-year-olds. Something needs to change.

Using the power of football and the expertise of our partners, we're tackling the problems young people are facing. By doing this, we will inspire young people to make healthier choices.


In your role, you need to understand the principles of play and analysing game tactics, strategies, and systems. Behind the scenes, you'll also work on admin tasks and ensure things run smoothly on matchdays.  

We know coaching is about teaching young people the skills and techniques to use when playing. But it's also about communication, empathy, and building relationships. It's more than the game itself – it's leadership both on and off the pitch. 

As a coach, you’re uniquely positioned to influence your players. Your role is to educate yourself and empower your players to make healthier choices. Each of the four core elements of the programme will have an impact on young people’s ability to perform on the pitch: 

  • Moving more throughout the week means they are fitter and more prepared for training and matchdays. 
  • Eating the right things at the right time means they are fuelling their bodies enough before training and matches, and recovering and repairing them properly afterward.  
  • Getting a good quality and quantity of sleep aids in recovery after matches, and means they are better prepared for playing. 
  • Understanding more about thinking well helps them to make sense of any thoughts and feelings they may have during and after a match, so they can cope better with how they feel.

But it’s not just about what’s happening on the pitch. While these are important elements of playing well, knowing more about these four elements will help their overall health and wellbeing as well. 

Getting to know your players as individuals will help you when it comes to encouraging them both on and off the pitch. But remember, looking after your own health and wellbeing is important too. You're a role model, and your actions can impact others. Use The Greater Game as a force for good by making healthier choices for yourself.  


Being a young person these days is tough, so we've worked with young people to identify the key problems they want support with: 

  • Move well: 
    • Increasing amount of time spent sitting still. 
    • Less time spent being physically active. 
  • Eat well: 
    • Poor food and drink choices.
    • Timing, type, and total amount of food consumed.
    • Increase in obesity levels.  
  • Sleep well: 
    • Poor sleep environments. 
    • Quality and quantity of sleep. 
    • Constantly overtired. 
  • Think well: 
    • Increasing levels of self-consciousness. 
    • Fear of embarrassment among peers.

Watch this short video to learn more.