Google+ Blueprint for Football

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Importance of Individual Coaching

The following piece originally appeared on Blueprint for Football Extra.

When you’re as focused on football as most of us are, it is very easy to think of it as being the universe; that everything begins and ends with it.  When you’re looking at the different ideas that might exist you look at what others within the game have done.  Same goes when you’re trying to solve a problem.

Looking at what other sports are doing rarely features in the equation.  Understanding how an apparently alien world works in order to try and gain something from it often seems like too much effort for the potential reward.  Even lazier is the assumption that since these are different sports then there is nothing that one could teach the other.

That, clearly, isn’t the case which is why an inquisitive mind would be constantly looking at what other sports are doing.  Where have they been successful and is there something that can be learned from them?  Is there anything that they are doing which might help me solve a problem that I have or, perhaps better, might allow me to do something better?

One idea that perhaps might warrant a closer look is basketball camps.  To briefly describe the concept, these are hugely popular (and often massively commercialised) events where the basic idea is to offer additional training for athletes during the off-season. 

There is, of course, more to it than that.  At the highest level, these camps serve to gauge the abilities of various players allowing colleges and professional clubs a closer look before making their choices.  This is an aspect that in football bears no significance.

What is significant is another aspect of these basketball camps: the focus that there is on the individual.  There isn’t the pressure to improve team dynamics or the need to get results that there usually is when one is working within a team environment.  Most of the work goes into particular plays meaning that they’re looking at specific  elements within a game.  To give a football analogy, they can look at dribbling or taking free-kicks.

This allows the coaches look at each player; they can focus all their energies into identifying what can be done to make that individual a better player.

It is in many ways a luxury – literally as, in most cases, it is those who are relatively well off who manage to make it to these camps – but it can make a huge difference for a player.  Little imperfections can be ironed out and weaknesses worked on.

This culture doesn’t exist in football.  Coaches strive to improve individuals in their team but, in truth, there is so much to look at that it can be almost impossible to attend to each member within the team individually.

Yet that individual attention can make a massive difference, solidifying the platform that enables him to move to more ambitious targets.

One on one coaching is something that Matt Whitehouse, a youth football coach and the author of the acclaimed book The Way Forward, feels very strongly about.

“During team training session and game of football a player may touch the ball 5-20% of the time. This means there will be a lot of time when the player is without the ball.   Now it is important that players understand what to do when not in possession of the ball; when both attacking and defending. They need to understand positioning, support, movement and concentrate. These are all key skills to succeed in football.”

“However are players in England getting as much from their practice sessions as possible?  Is team training going to help develop the technical skills of a young player?  The answer is no.  During the week a player, in my opinion, must work on their individual ball mastery and skills.  This may be on their own, either in their garden or at a local park.  However this idea of 'street football', of players enhancing their development on their own or with peers has reduced.” 

“This is worrying because the extra touches of the ball which these moments can provide can be invaluable for a player.  Therefore, in the present day it may be necessary for players to experience 1-1 sessions.  Personally I believe these are essential for players to develop.  An hour session can allow a coach to help develop a players control, touch, skills and ability to dribble.  It can provide thousands of touches of the ball and with a qualified coach can help provide the detail to help the player improve their execution of different skills.” 

“Sessions can be position specific or centred around developing the players technical foundation. If  player partakes solely in team training sessions during their week they are simply not getting the necessary contact of the ball and repetition of practising skills which they need to progress.”

“Therefore 1-1 sessions are not just a bonus for a player but a necessity.”

If you want to learn from other coaches, Blueprint for Football Extra...Volume 1 contains interviews where six coaches talk about their ideas on the game (for a PDF copy, check details here).

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Role of Luck In Football

Learn from others: six interviews with six coaches who talk about their blueprint for football in 'Blueprint According To...'.

Apart from Blueprint for Football, over the past few weeks I’ve been working on another writing project that looks at the stories from Italian football (if you’re interested in learning more about that, check this out).  In doing the research for that I read up quite a bit about Zdenek Zeman, a man who today is often spoken about in almost romantic terms by his admirers for the carefree football he advocates.

His critics, on the other point to his inability to build balanced teams which is why he failed to achieve any success when put in charge of big teams.

There is truth in both points of view but my sympathies lie more with the first one: Zeman was a visionary whose intense pressing game was ahead of its time by a couple of decades.

That, however, is not the point of this piece but rather the players in the team with which he rose to fame: Foggia.

As a small provincial side they had neither the finances nor the desire to attract big names and instead went through the lower leagues looking for players with potential to grow.  Many, if not most, clubs in their position do that but the big difference for Foggia is that they had a manager who could actually make these talents better.

Perhaps the most obvious example is that of Beppe Signori.  The season before Foggia signed him he had scored five goals.  Since making his senior debut five years earlier he had scored fifteen goals.   In his first meeting with Zeman, the Czech manager welcomed him by calling him ‘bomber’ (word used by Italians to refer to prolific scorers).  It was a welcome that surprised Signori because the last thing the thought of himself was of a ‘bomber’.

Yet in his first season with Foggia he scored fourteen goals and went on to become of the greatest Italian strikers of all time.  Zeman had seen in him an ability that not even the player himself was certain of.  More importantly, he gave him the coaching and confidence to allow that ability to flourish.

Signori wasn’t the only one.  Before Foggia, Zeman spent a season with Messina where a then unknown striker by the name of Salvatore ‘Toto’ Schillaci scored 23 goals which brought him to the attention of Juventus.  A year later he would be Italy’s saviour and top-scorer at the World Cup.  Then there were Roberto Rambaudi and Francesco Baiano, two forwards who were playing in the lower leagues but who went to have very successful careers in the top flight – Baiano even did pretty well in England with Derby County – with both playing for Italy.

That development of players is something that Zeman has done well throughout his career.  What always strikes me when I see such stories is the question over what would have happened if these players hadn’t signed for his teams.  Would they have been any less talented?  Was it the coaching that made the difference and pushed them up a level?  Or was it just a big stroke of fortune on their part that they came across a manager who was willing to give them a chance and a system that made their abilities shine?

My belief tends to be towards the latter.  Players need coaches who believe in their talent, who coach them well and who give them opportunities to improve.  It sounds obvious but in truth how many players fail to do that?  How many move to a big club, their eyes blinded by the lights and the big wages, only to see their career stall due to not playing?

In most walks of life, people just out of school accept jobs that don’t pay too well but which allow them to learn and gain the experience.  People plot their careers, choosing carefully which company to join based on the opportunities that it might open up.  They’re mindful of not taking dead-end jobs which might pay a bit more but leave them with no prospects.

Not in football, however.  As soon as a player starts making enough of an impression to attract bigger clubs, then you can almost guarantee that they’ll be off.  Sadly many times there are agents who are pushing them in that direction in order to get their cut with the players placing too much faith in them.

Ultimately, however, the players have to take responsibility.  There have been too many instances of others making a mistake for them to learn.  Looking through transfer rumours on any day, you’ll come across at least one where a young player is said to be attracting a big club.  And, if that interest is real, you can rest assured that in most cases that move will go through come the summer.

Monday, March 17, 2014

When Winning Is All That Matters

Over the past couple of weeks, Joseph Minala achieved widespread notoriety for a rather uncomfortable reason.  The attacking midfielder, who looks a fair bit older than his declared age of seventeen years, has been impressing for Lazio at U20 level so much that he was recently called up to the first team.

Not everyone is impressed, however, and there are those arguing that one of the reasons for which he’s doing well is that he’s older than those he’s playing against. There’s no solid proof and all that everyone’s going by is his looks: hardly the most damning of reasons.  Then again, when you see his pictures you can understand the scepticism.

All of this talk about Minala’s age, however, misses a main point of the whole story which is that clubs still overlook the long term prospects of a player if he has the physical strength that can make the difference at this level.   Despite all the arguments made about the importance of developing individuals, rather than winning at all costs, you will still find many who will gladly opt for the individual who can help them win a competition even if in the long run that is all meaningless.

It is why those boys who mature physically at an earlier age still get picked ahead of the skilled yet weaker – for the time being – ones.   It is also why some clubs will play precocious talents in as many age groups as possible rather than opting for the one that will provide him with the challenge that allows him to develop and push to the next level.

Even so, it is unfair to lay all of the blame on the coaches.  The truth is that many feel that they’re working in the results business where the development of the individual is of little importance.  With managers at first team level changing on an increasingly more frequent basis, and with each new manager coming in with his own ideas, the pressure is there for coaches down the scale to have something to show for their work.  And the sad truth is that people are more easily impressed by wins then they are by the extent to which the players improved.

But one doesn’t even have to look at professional clubs to find evidence of that impatience.  How many parents will gladly accept a coach’s decision to give playing time to all kids so as to ensure that they all get the exposure?  How many will see the wisdom in having the kids experience playing in different positions rather than the one role in which they excel at that point?  Or will they start complaining if these decisions result in defeats?  Sadly, from personal experience I would think that in most cases it will be the latter.

Ultimately, it is all down to the culture fostered in the club where these children are receiving their footballing education.  If the over-riding message is that the only result which is important is the one that deals with the progression of the children then everyone will work towards that.  Yet, if that message is not forthcoming and regularly reinforced then the default setting will always be that of looking for the short term.

Learn from others: six interviews with six coaches who talk about their blueprint for football in 'Blueprint According To...'.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Blueprint According To...Dan Wright

“I work with people to help them fulfill their potential.”   As far as opening statements in a CV go, there are few more ambitious and impressive than that.  It is also intriguing, incentivising readers to look into it in more detail so, in that sense, Dan Wright’s is certainly a success.

There is, however, more to him than just the easy promises of a CV. Wright is someone who has worked himself tirelessly; rising through the ranks until he made it as the main person in charge at the Eastleigh academy.  He has since left that job and is looking for new challenge, planning his next move.

In the meantime, he has kept himself busy by scouring the internet for the best coaching manuals and documents which are then retweeted.  It is a great source of information, one that whets the appetite making you determined to find out more.

Blueprint for Football: Let's start with the basics: what got you into coaching and how long was that?
Dan Wright: I first started coaching in 2004, I set up a Sunday league club for my friends and I, we wanted to build something a bit different and took my FA Level 1 straight away.  This led on to my Level 2 immediately after, I was told by my tutor Nigel Quincey to take the UEFA 'B' straight away, so ended up taking the 3 badges with 4 years.

BfF: Have you had any mentors in your career?
DW: This is one area I'm working on. I believe you learn something from everybody you work with; players and coaches.  At this stage of my career it is the players I've learnt the most from, having never played a fantastic level I learn a lot working with some excellent young talents. 

BfF: What is your coaching philosophy?
DW: My aim is to produce technically proficient players who understand the game and make great decisions. I like to coach through game related practices and small sided games that recreate pictures that players seen in a game.

BfF: Is winning important for you?
DW: YES! Winning has become a dirty word, but it's not winning that's the problem, it's putting it above everything else, that's the issue.  The win at all cost mentality in youth football is a problem. Putting results over performance at under 8 is wrong. 

Kids play the game to win, so ignoring the result is silly, however it's only one indication of the performance.  My view is focus on the processes, the small details and the results will look after themselves!

BfF: What are the most important attributes of players in your teams?
DW: Great question! I think it varies from age to age. Initially in the foundation phase I'm looking for players that are enthusiastic, that move well, can problem solve with creativity and individual ball mastery. As this develops through the age groups the ability to combine with other becomes important and then their understanding of the role in the team, and finally how this changes between transitions.

As players getter older I would say the individuals that are committed to their improvement are the ones that truly reach their potential. Players that I've coached who have gone on to earn professional contracts have been 100% focused on being the best they can be, they know that small details can have huge impacts.

BfF: You describe yourself as a student of the game.  What do you consider to be the best way through which you learn?  
DW: For me learning is formal and informal. You learn a lot from the FA courses but I learnt more working with a reserve squad for 1 season for example.

I try to build up as comprehensive knowledge as possible. This means watching as much football as possible - preferably live, watching great coaches coach, reading books - on all aspects of coaching, psychology, learning styles, autobiographies and journals and networking with other coaches who challenge your thinking, twitter is great for this.. 

BfF: You also say that your relationships with players are based on trust and value that you can add to the game.  First of all, what do you mean by that?
DW: When working with young players they naturally respect coaches, you older and taller and they generally work in environments where adults are in charge! However in sport this can be challenged, the better footballers tend to question coaching, which I encourage, if you know your stuff I would encourage dialogue with players. 

As players get older they start to have an opinion, this where I would say I build relationships with players. By varying your coaching style and your intervention techniques you can start to drip feed information to players.  By giving information or small pointers you get in to dialogue with players, this shows they're learning, it also gives you chance to give your opinion and hopefully improve their game.

BfF: Secondly, how do you achieve that?
DW: This is the art of coaching, seeing the problem, knowing your players and then picking the right technique to communicate it successfully.  Like I said having never been a great a player I often use phrases like 'What did you think...?", "Have you thought about..", "Could you try...". When these hints work, players come back for more and start to trust your insight and opinion. I try to build trust and respect rather than just expect it.

BfF: You spent a couple of years at Eastleigh FC's academy.  What are the main challenges of working with youths at that level?
DW: At that this level it's contact time that's the problem. The coaching was all funded from parents so the players came in once a week from U8 to U15, at U16 this went up to 2 sessions a week and then on the scholarship they would train 4 mornings a week.

There are many talented young footballers but every year they are out of EPPP clubs the gap just gets bigger and bigger.

BfF: And is there any upside?
DW: The upside is helping young players fulfil their potential and giving players that opportunity to make the jump.  The impact you can have is huge, you can take players from grassroots clubs to the football league. 

BfF: What do you want to achieve to be satisfied with what you have done in your coaching career?
DW: I've achieved more than I thought I would but I'm never satisfied. I'm very hungry and ambitious, I would like to look back when I retire and think of all the players I've helped along the way that's what I find rewarding.

Dan Wright's blog can be found here whilst he can also be reached on Twitter.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Model To Develop Young Players

Whilst it is always easy to appreciate when a club gets something right, it is not as simple to understand what they did to get it right.  This is particularly the case as far as the development of players is concerned where changes that are carried out today will take years to be proven correct (or otherwise).

It takes an equal amount of foresight, conviction and experience to lay down the foundations of any long term project.  Such a balance is very difficult to achieve which is why many often prefer to look at what others have been successfully doing in order to base their own work.  It is a sensible decision but it is also a risky one because what seems to be the accepted wisdom today might be proven to be the wrong view in a few years’ time.

Fifteen years ago, everyone was looking at developing big, strong midfielders to act as a shield in front of their defence.  Nearly every team felt that such a player was essential and consequently everyone worked to identify those who had the raw abilities to become such a player.  It was a desire fuelled by the tactical opinions of the era rather than a vision of where the game was going.

Today, people argue over the importance of allowing younger children the time to develop their skills above anything else.  It is a view that is in line with what Barcelona have done in developing a generation of players with fantastic technical ability; one that has won all that there is to win in world football.

The problem with this way of operating is that it is reactionary and, whilst it might result in some upside, those who adopt it will never be the exceptional ones.  Again, that might be acceptable for some but certainly not for those who want their youth system to be the fuel that keeps the fire of their success burning.

Those who want to be in this latter group will actively look for new ideas that challenge the way things are done by most other clubs, searching ways to improve.  It is such clubs who have been in touch with Dr Jon Oliver, a lecturer in Sport and Exercise Physiology at Cardiff Metropolitan University in order to develop a practical model of the Youth Physical Development Model which he has developed along with Dr. Rhodri S. Lloyd - Senior Lecturer in Physiology and Health at the Cardiff Metropolitan University – and which is outlined in a paper issued in 2012 called “The Youth Physical Development Model: A New Approach to Long-Term Athletic Development”.

Trying to map a way to maximise potential is one of the areas that sports scientists handle and the model on which most plans are based is one known as the Long Term Athlete Development.  There are a number of variations to this but the most underlying concept is that there are certain key stages in a young person’s life during which the effect of training can be maximised.  

Given that different people mature at different rates, these key stages aren’t measured by age but rather on one’s development.  Significantly, the identification of these stages has proven to be vital as it allows training to be modelled in a way that fits in with that individual’s state of development. 

Yet, despite its widespread acceptance, there was still too much that is theoretical about it which was something that bothered Dr. Oliver.  As a result he embarked on a project to identify whether the theory could be backed up with research and statistical results.

What he and his colleagues came to realise, however, was that there were gaps in the reasoning behind the LTAD so they set up working on their own model for athlete development.

The result was the Youth Physical Development model.

“When working on my doctorate, I did a lot of reading regarding athlete development and started to realise that there was no research to support what was being suggested in the LTAD,” he explains, talking about the origin of this model.  “It got me interested in taking a more informed approach to athlete development.  I was lucky enough to get more research and that helped in putting a solid foundation to the whole process.”

The result of that work is bound to get people talking.

Indeed, that which most probably is the most significant departure from what is seen as the currently prevalent view in football is the emphasis that the Youth Physical Development Model makes on the importance of strength training even at a young age.

“That is one of the things we were most keen to emphasise,” Dr Oliver admits before going on to explain that the reason for this is that “by improving strength we can assist movement skills.”

“In a nutshell the movement skills are seen as the basis of all athletic activity.  There is what is termed as a proficiency barrier and if they don't develop certain movement they won't be able to execute that sport.  If they don't develop an over arm throw they won't be able to throw a ball properly, for instance.  It prohibits their development so movement skills are essential.”  

“In children the neural systems [note: the nervous system that co-ordinates the voluntary and involuntary actions in a body] are developing very rapidly and by the time they are seven it will be almost fully developed.”

“(Yet), in the LTAD, the work on strength would appear at a very late stage, around the time the person is 15 years old because this is the age where strength seems to develop more.  However we think that this might be based on hypertrophy [note: this is the increase in muscle size] which happens for physiological reasons.”  

“Strength training isn't about increasing muscle size and with the younger age groups you can work on the neural aspect of strength.”  

This, then, isn’t about looking for the strongest kids as used to happen in the past but rather providing them with the basic requirements to prevent them from suffering injuries as they grow up.  To quote directly from the paper “in 2011, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association suggested that approximately 50% of overuse injuries within youth sports could be preventable in part with appropriate preparatory conditioning.”

“There has actually research carried out by others that backs this up,” Dr. Oliver continues.  “One author, Dr. Michael Behringer, undertook two systematic reviews in strength training in children.  In their first review it showed that the gains in strength were related to maturation, meaning that more mature children experienced more pronounced training gains.”  

“In the second review, which was carried out 2011, it showed that less mature children could transfer the benefits of strength training to running, jumping and throwing better than more mature children.”

Indeed, in an interview with Reuters Health, Dr Behringer said that “since resistance training in children and adolescents is known to be safe and to be associated with several health benefits, children and adolescents should be generally encouraged to participate in a resistance-training program.” 

What Dr. Oliver and Dr. Lloyd are suggesting is that training for pre-pubescent children should focus on resistance training in order to build strength with hypertrophy training – to increase muscle size – taking place after adolescence. 

Such training will also help in the development of a core ability for any top sportsperson: power.  Explosive power, the ability to generate high levels of power is essential for sporting success yet had been omitted in the current LTAD models.  

Power is typically seen as an innate ability, the god given gift that distinguishes athletes like Sir Chris Hoy from other mere mortals.  Yet the YPD model is based on research that shows that muscular power can be improved through training.  And whilst the most significant improvement happens after the onset of adolescence, some training that focuses on power can be carried out beforehand.

“One of the reasons we included that is that power is seen as being one of the distinguishing characteristics,” Oliver explains.  “The better footballers would be seen to be better in certain power exercises.  In terms of children developing power, we're of the view that it is something that it is something that can be developed.  If you specifically focus on power you can get players to jump higher.”

In spite of all the recommendations, the main difficulty for anyone involved in football is that of personalising preparation – something that the paper insists on – when you’re involved with a group of individuals.  

“That is a difficult one.  When we were writing the model we were thinking of team sports as they have the higher participation rates.  However, there are always some logistical issues.”  

“I would personally recommend that there should be some grouping.  You may find that there is a sub-set of players who have lower movement skills then another group.  I'd probably be breaking these up into groups so that each gets the appropriate training for them.”

“In football there is the tendency to train in age groups but it might more be the case that coaches should be less worried about children in a year group and group them according to their development stage.  Some aspects of training should be across all levels and strength in movement skills linking to injury prevention.   We want to prepare them for a career in physical activity and sports.  Injury is a real risk so we have to provide them with the right movement skills and fatigue resistance.”

Within that comment there is the over-riding principle that anyone involved in youth sports should live by: that the aim has to be that of preparing them so that they can keep participating in sport rather than for the specific (and relatively short) period when they are in your care.

“The difficulty is what the targets of those in youth sports are.  The challenge in trying to make a team is that it will create a selection bias.  You pick the most mature players into the team and that would provide them an advantage because they are physically stronger.”  

“If you watch how children develop over time, those who mature later on will catch up and often outperform the others.   If you focus on the competitive outcome you end up with a system that favours early mature-rs.  Others don't get selected and they don't get the training which makes it difficult to get back.  Clubs need to develop distance and targets should be that players should be progressing; targets that are placed on individual development.”

This helps brings it all together.  It dispels any suspicion that the argument for the early introduction of some form of strength training is aimed at favouring a more physical approach.  Pushing for more individualised targets – rather than looking at team results which can be artificially inflated - is what the best academies already do, something that should be augmented by the individualisation of the training schedule.

It is a holistic approach, one that covers all bases that any long term plan to develop football players should be looking into.  The theory, and the reasons supporting it, are all there and it would be a huge opportunity missed not to build on it.

This is not a critical evaluation of the paper and there is no analysis of the findings held within.  The aim of this piece is to look at the Youth Development Model and raise awareness to the possibilities held within. The paper and the model can be found here.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Never Too Late To Change

When Luis Aragones was appointed as manager of the Spanish national team, it was something of an awkward choice.  Here was a man whose philosophy revolved around a strong defence and a reliance on counter attack who was suddenly being put in charge of one of the finest group of attacking players in the history of the game.

On top of that, Aragones was 66 years old when he was put in charge; surely too old an age for him to change his ways.  Even if, in truth, age was not the determining factor here: pride would also have prevented many younger men from making that change.

Change he did, however, slowly adopting the short passing and high pressing game that was bringing Barcelona so much success.   He was still very much his own man, dropping a legend like Raul – previously considered an untouchable - in favour of Fernando Torres, who knew what he wanted.  But he was intelligent enough to realise that his way wasn’t necessarily the only way.

There is sometimes the misplaced belief that a coach changing his mind is a sign of weakness.  People are expected to have a view of how the game should be played and stick to it throughout their whole career.  It is, however, a flawed way of seeing things because there is no such thing as a universal truth.

A coach will, for sure, have a favoured way of playing but like any view that should be allowed room to evolve and grow based on what he sees and experiences.  It is what Luis Aragones did and it is what set Spain up for a decade of unprecedented domination of world football.  

Taken from the most recent issue of Blueprint for Football Extra.  To read more articles like this one, subscribe here.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Planning For Success

This is part of the Blueprint for Football Extra series which you can subscribe to for free.

Perhaps due to his failure to win the league with Liverpool, or because because of his time at Aston Villa, but Gerard Houllier’s managerial reputation in England isn’t a particularly elevated one.  He is far too often remembered for the dour and defensive way that he set up his teams than for anything else.

Yet there was much more to him than that; Houllier was a true football visionary.  He was one of the people who dreamt up and then oversaw the development of the Clairfontaine academy where France laid the foundations of their eventual success.  It was in Clairfontaine that the generation of players that would win a World Cup and a European Championship for France got most of their formation.

Often less heralded, he also helped nurture and develop the talents of Michael Owen, Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard – three of the finest English players of their generation - ensuring that they got the opportunities needed for their maturation as well as providing them with the guidance that they needed.

His whole philosophy is contained in a comment that he made whilst manager of Liverpool: “you can’t programme success, you can only prepare and plan for it”.

That is, for me, the essence of what good management is all about, regardless of what level you’re working in. 

Just as with Houllier, there are many who discount Clive Woodward as someone who lives on the memory of one moment of success.  Yet it is impossible to deny that what he achieved was phenomenal.

But perhaps the most remarkable aspect isn’t what he achieved but how he went about achieving it.  Woodward looked into every aspect of his team’s preparation and studied every possibility in order to try to find things that could be done better.

It is the same thing with British cycling where every little detail is analysed in order to find ways of perfecting the preparation.  So much that there is a whole team dedicated to bringing about changes that will result in a number infinitesimal gains that, when grouped together, enable the British cyclist to dominate.

Most coaches don’t have access to the resources with which British cycling or English rugby are blessed.  Yet practically all have access to the vast resources that can be found on the internet where there are plenty of different ideas, thoughts and research that will give you all the inside that you need.   

 It is up to the coaches to dedicate the time needed to sift through all this information and learn from it; identifying that which is of most use for them.  Because it is those who do so, those who prepare well who will succeed in the long run.

Blueprint for Football is now also on Facebook, posting links to the best coaching articles we come across on a daily basis