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Parent & Player Welcome Pack

I thought I'd take the time to share with you my parent & player pack.  This is something I produce at the start of every season & pass around players & parents.  This has been my template as Academy Director at Irish Premiership side, Lisburn Distillery.  I believe it is essential to have good communication levels with parents & players.  At the same time it is essential to outline how you wish to operate your sessions, preparation before, after & during along with the important match day.

Communicate with players & parents

This is something which most coaches miss out.  Remember not all parents know football.  They maybe haven't played it so don't know about what us coaches see as basics, i.e. what boots, shin pads, behaviour.  As coaches we have an important role to play & we must insure we provide good information & communication to parents & player.  This also helps keep things running smoothly.  It allows parents to know what support they should be offering their child.

Only the other day did I have a parent asking me what trainers they should buy their child as she only had girls before her son arrived!  I also have heard about other parents being baffled to what shin pads are - never presume everyone knows what we are talking about!  Another common factor that is always brought up is touchline behaviour & parents 'coaching' from the side.  If you detail from the start how you expect your parents to behave this should minimise the problems.

Most importantly, respect the parents & communicate!  If it wasn't for mum & dad we wouldn't have their child along to training, matches & all those favours we ask from assisting with lifts to sponsor walks.  Hopefully you'll find my welcome pack informative.  Please respect the time & effort I have put into putting this together.  If you would like to use or share attach a link to my blog.  At the same time adapt it to suit your team.  Let me have your feedback & comments...

Welcome to TW Academy!

Dear Parent & Player

Please keep this in a safe place for reference.

Welcome to the Academy.  Your child & their development is the most important thing to us.  We guarantee that we will improve your child’s technical ability & game understanding in a fun, relaxed environment.

Please take time to read the following points that we hope ensure an enjoyable experience for both player & parent.

If you require any further advice you can contact me on 077 4012 0788 or by email, tim@twacademy.org.

IMPORTANT LINKS

www.YouTube.com/twsportsgroup - You will find two short videos of 1-to-1 coaching featuring one of our 98 players, Luke.  A number of the tricks & skills in these videos are named after players.  We expect all Academy players to practice these skills.

www.TWAcademy.Org/players/ - This is the parent & player section of the Academy website.  Here you will be able to read & print off information on diet, health (including what players should be eating / drinking before, during & after games), practice sessions, information nights & tours.

We have coaches from Braga & Benfica over during May to operate elite camps & hope to organise a tour to Portugal to visit & play against Braga toward the end of August.

www.TWAcademy.Org/tim/ - Will offer you more information on me & the Academy team along with my philosophy.

www.DutchSoccer4s.Org/who/ - Here you will find why we operate 4 v 4 games at the end of most sessions.  We want players to play with freedom with little to no coaching – the game is the teacher!  It will show the Manchester United study on how 4 v 4 is so much more beneficial than the likes of 8 v 8.  Also there is a section on the games that we will use in the Academy, players should be familiar with them.

TRAINING

All players are expected to attend all training sessions & arrive 10 minutes before the start of each session.  This is very important as to receive an appropriate warm up.

It is parents responsibility to contact their players coach to advise of non attendance.  This should be organised in advance as training sessions are organised to suit each squad size.  It also allows parents to receive important announcements that are made at the end of each session.

TRAINING KIT

All players are expected to arrive & depart training in the TW Academy polo & tracksuit.  On arrival they should change into the Academy kit (orange top, white shorts & orange socks) along with black rain jacket, boots & shin pads.

MATCH DAY

Players should pack their own kit bag the night before a game with the assistance of a parent.  Please don’t do this for your son as this is an important routine for your child to learn.  Players should have their uniform ready.  They should pack their boots (cleaned), shin pads, towel, change of clothes, toiletries, drinks (water or still sports drinks & child’s name should be marked on bottles), snack (banana, jaffa cakes or fig rolls.)

PLAYER CONDUCT / BEHAVIOUR

Players are reminded that at TW Academy their behaviour is expected to be exemplary at all times.

Players should be courtesy to all Club officials, coaches, parents & team mates.

The use of bad language or bad behaviour on or off the pitch will not be tolerated.

Players must remove jewellery before coaching sessions & are reminded not to bring valuables with them.  Players must show good sportsmanship at all times.  Good team spirit is very important; therefore encourage team mates, especially when a mistake is made.

Verbal, racist & physical abuse is totally unacceptable & will not be tolerated.

PARENT CONDUCT / BEHAVIOUR

It would be impossible to run our programme effectively without the support of parents, & we are grateful for any assistance you can give.

We ask that parents don’t coach their son - this must be left to the coaches - & expectations of him should always be realistic.

To allow coaching sessions to run efficiently & without undue distraction for both players & coaches, parents are asked to keep away from the coaching area for the duration of active coaching.

Unless they have consulted a coach, parents should refrain from giving feedback to players regarding their performance.  This avoids over repetition of or contradiction of a coach’s advice which can lead to confusion or frustration for a player.

To help a player understand the need to develop self-confidence, positive parental support is essential, particularly in times of disappointment.  During matches parents should set a good example by supporting the teams positively.  Please refrain from shouting unencouraging views & ‘coaching’.  Respect opponents & match officials.

SLEEPING & REST

Parents should ensure that their child is receiving enough sleep throughout the week & at weekends, especially the evening before a game or training.  Each child should be getting at least 10 hours sleep every night.

We would also advise you to take note of every physical session your child takes part in.  They should also have a balanced diet & ensure they drink enough fluids; this is especially important before & after training sessions & matches.

TWSPORTS.ORG

All children are encouraged to attend a TWSports.Org Mini Soccer Centre / DutchSoccer4s.Org Centre.  You can attend from as little as £3 per week while you remain at the Academy.  For those with younger brothers & sisters we operate ToddlerSoccer.Org!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me for any further information required about the Academy or advice on player’s preparation, diet, etc.

Yours in Sport

Tim Wareing
Academy Director & Head Coach

Coach Tim’s Academy Session

I thought I would share my own Academy session that I performed with my squad last Sunday.  We had a squad of 14 boys aged 11-13 that reported for the session.  Typical Belfast weather - rain & high winds!  With this in mind I wanted a session that would always involve the players and that was easy to manage in terms of setting up and developing.

As soon as my players arrive a ball is at their feet

I always arrive 20 minutes before the players so I can set my coaching area up and everything runs smoothly.  On Sunday I set up 4 grids measuring 15 x 15 yards with a 5 x 5 yard safety area between them.  This offered me an overall 35 x 35 yard coaching area which is what we would develop to.  One session to the next only involved lifting a few cones - no waiting about for the players!  Inside each grid I set up a 4 x 4 yard triangle.

On arrival my players know to get a ball and go for a light dribble in one of the allocated grids.  This is their own time as I encourage them to arrive early, get a ball, go for a dribble and have a chat with their team mates - always giving each other a high-5 on arrival.  I then welcome the group, give all the boys a high-5 and ask how they got on in their matches for their club sides.  I then give them a quick overview to the session ahead.  Players then focus and get to work.  They continue the warm up through a series of dribbling, skills, turns & keepie ups.  I like to run through the 'Ronaldo 7' and then organise them to juggle the ball in groups.

By the time my warm up is complete each boy will have touched the ball several hundred times.  Yet how many youth set ups still keep the ball locked away and have their players run laps around a pitch!  There is time allowed for players to stretch & take on fluids.  We then run through our Speed, Agility & Quickness routine.  We use a series of movements through the speed ladder, hurdles and hoops.  Players again take a drink before returning for the first part of our technical session.  I always like to use the ball and will always concentrate on possession games setting goals and keeping game realistic.

You will see from my first game we use the grids wisely.  I ended up having one grid spare.  In two other grids we had 4 v 1 and in the other grid we had 3 v 1.  This was intresting as I rotated so that all groups had the opportunity to try 3 v 1 as it was more challenging.  I always like to insure success in all my sessions but then like to challenge so feel free to make the triangle smaller (i did) or change it from 4 v 1 to 3 v 1 or maybe 4 v 2?  Have fun, this is a great session to develop movement and work rate off the ball along with passing and supporting runs to passing and touch.

Movement 'Off The Ball' In A Passing & Support Game

Movement 'Off The Ball' In A Passing & Support Game

Emphasis

Focus on improving movement 'off' the ball.  Session to work on passing, movement off the ball, fitness & looking for the penetrating pass.

Set-Up

Play takes place in a 15 x 15 yard area with a 4 yard equilateral triangle in the middle made up of cones.  There are 5 players in the activity with one being a defender & the other four being on offense.

Objectives

The 4 players try to maintain possession while also looking to score goals by playing the ball through the triangle to their team mates.  The defender is NOT allowed inside the triangle so they must be constantly working their way around the triangle trying to cut of the penetrating passes.

What makes this such an interesting activity is the required movement off the ball by the offensive players.  On every pass they are moving in order to get into a better position to either make a penetrating pass or receive one.

Play this game for a 5 minute period with each player having a one minute turn in defence.  It gets the players working hard, thinking & competing while having fun trying to beat their team mates.  The player who gives up the fewest number of goals in defence wins.

There is a tendency in this game for the offensive players to get to close to the triangle which takes away the passing angles.  This is easy to correct & is a good learning opportunity for the players.

Progressions

  1. Change to 4 v 2, or 2 v 2 v 2.  Keep the overload initially until players get good at this before you move on.  Experiment with numbers increasing the difficulty of the session as you go.

Coaching

  • Creating space for yourself or for a team mate by movement off the ball.
  • Quality of passing (weight, accuracy & timing.)
  • Quality of control & first touch.
  • Effective maintenance of possession,
  • Communication.
I then developed the session.  As I had set up 4 grids with the safty area of 5 yards between each grid it left a 5 x 5 yard box in the centre and a 35 x 35 yard area to work in.  I simply had to lift the 3 cones from the triangle in each grid and we could move straight on to this session.  This offered a smooth transition with little to no standing about for the players (another pet hate of mine!)
You'll see from my session plan below that this game is 5 v 3 with the 5 in possession trying to play to the 2 target players in the box.  With the 4 players I had over I had them play as wall players.  they played with the team in possession.  If the defenders won the ball the wall players played with them.  For 5 passes they were rewarded with 1 goal, this offers incentives to both the defenders as well as the attackers.  I rotated the players so everyone played in each role.  Remember the target players inside the box are replaced by the player who plays the ball to them.  My players carried this out great!

Target Passing & Possession Game

Target Passing & Possession Game

Emphasis

Passing & possession game to play to target player.

Set-Up

Play takes place inside a 35 x 35 yard area with a smaller 6 x 6 yard square in the centre.

Objectives

The 5 yellow players pass the ball & look to keep possession from the 3 red players.  The object is to pass the ball to the 2 yellow players inside the square.

The 3 defenders work as a unit to stop the attacking players passing to the smaller square.

Apart from the 2 players inside the square, no one is allowed to enter the smaller area.

Progressions

  1. If the defenders win the ball offer them a goal for set number of passes that they retain possession.
  2. Players inside the smaller square follow their pass out of the square & the player making the pass replaces them.
  3. Play 4 v 4 with both teams looking to play the ball into the smaller square to the target players.

Coaching

  • Keep possession - be patient.
  • Pass & move.
  • Good supporting angles.
  • Work rate & movement on / off the ball.
  • Communication.
  • For defenders look to press.
  • Intercept / block passes.
  • Anticipate.
I then finished the session off with a 7 v 7 game into full size goals on a slightly smaller half a pitch.  I simply asked them to get a basic shape and enjoy themselves.  Only changes I add from a 'normal game' is keeper must roll out and play from the back.  Throw in's are replaced with pass in's or dribble in's.
I do think it is important that players can have some freedom to play without continual instructions and 'orders' from the coach.  We then finished off with a cool down.
Let me know what you think of my session and if you try out the sessions how you and your team got on with them and what variations (if any) you made.  Remember you can have full access to all my session plans by clicking here!

U12 Training Session

I took a session for a local U12 side last week.  I always prefer my sessions to run smoothly so players aren't standing about but also that each session is based around the same theme.  Last Thursday was an awful night.  Strong winds and rain so essential that the players were kept busy and always moving.  Likewise, having your coaching area set up so players can move from one thing to the next without you having to have them stand about and take time to re-set your coaching area.  I like to see all players with a ball during the warm up dribbling, performing skills and juggling the ball.

My warm up started with all players in a 10 x 10 yard grid with a ball.  I made a further 4 different coloured 10 x 10 grids in either corner.  This concept is taken from my great Dutch friend, Bert-Jan Heijmans.  All players remained in the centre grid dribbling the ball, perfoming skills & juggling the ball.  I then performed the 'Ronaldo 7' which is 7 different skills performed while the ball is stationary.  The idea is that your feet is furthest away from your brain so through repetition will lead to improvement on speed, reaction and the idea of performing skills on the pitch 'without thinking about it' or if you prefer, instinct.

I then worked on a spatial awareness game.  I had 16 players in the centre zone so I wanted them to react on my whistle and dribble at speed to either of the 4 outside grids.  If done correctly we would have 4 players in each grid.  The players had great success from this.  You can also operate a number of  'mini games' within each grid like '3 v 1' or 'Ball Hunter'.

My diagram below doesn't exactly show what I have explained as it is another variation on my session.  If you add another grid in the middle and obviously base on the idea that the players will be split equally amongst the grids.

Dribbling Grid Game

Dribbling Grid Game

Emphasis

Dribbling, spatial awareness & listening skills game.

Set-Up

Great game if you are on your own as a coach or waiting for another group to finish before your allocated time meaning no set up time or little preparation.

Start the session inside a 10 x 10 yard grid using all the same colour of cones (although in my diagram you can't see this the grid should appear in the middle with the other 4 grids on the outside.) All players have a ball & dribble around. While the players are doing that set up another 10 x 10 yard grid alongside it, but leaving a 10 yard safety area. This time use a different colour of cones.

Encourage players to look for space & perform skills. Again leave another 10 yard safety area & set up a third 10 x 10 yard area using another colour but keeping inside a 'square' shape. Finally set up a forth 10 x 10 yard area using a forth different colour of cones.

Objectives

With four different coloured 10 x 10 yard areas set up on the outside players should dribble within the centre grid.  On the coaches call players should dribble at speed to the outside grids.  I worked with 16 players so ideally there should be 4 players in each grid (unlike my diagram!)  On the next call players return to the centre grid.

This is an excellent session for players to improve their decision making & getting their head up.

Progressions

  1. Play mini games when players are in the outside grids like '3 v 1' & 'Ball Hunter'.

Coaching

  • Dribbling skills.
  • Tricks.
  • Head up.
  • Look for space.
  • Change of direction / speed.
  • Awareness.
  • Listening skills.

Set up well so players don't stand about

It is essential to plan and set your session up so that it runs smoothly and players aren't standing about getting cold, distracted & bored!
I wanted to work on 1 v 1's and continue the theme of dribbling, skills, turns and work at a high tempo.  My next session was easily combined into the set up from the first part of my session.
With having 4 grids set up on the outside all I had to do at the start of the session was leave a couple of extra cones down in each grid for the mini goals.
Players then worked in their groups of 4, playing 1 v 1.  This in turn kept the high tempo but also allowed enough recovery for each player.
Having mini goals on either side of the grid insures players can change direction to beat & fool the defender.  Although if the defender should gain possession they then become the attacker.
Rotate players so that everyone has an opportunity to play both as an attacker and a defender.  I named the session after PSV as I viewed it at their Academy!

PSV 1 V 1

PSV 1 v 1

Emphasis

1 v 1 duel, beat the defender with a move at speed.

This is a simple session that I viewed at the PSV training ground.  The Academy played this at a high tempo.

Don't have long lines although work in groups of 4-5 players per grid so each player receives a recovery period.

Set-Up

Set up 10 x 10 yard grids with a safety area between each one.

Players should position themselves at the top of the grid in the centre facing the defender at the bottom of the grid.

A mini goal should be placed on either side of the grid.

Objectives

Defender starts with the ball (red player).  They make a firm pass to the attacker (yellow player).

The attacker should meet the ball & both players come to the middle of the grid.  The attacker performs a skill & attacks one of the goals while the defender applies pressure.

Encourage the attacker to be brave, perform a skill & play at speed.  They should also be patient & if they cannot score in one goal look to switch & attack the other goal.

Progressions

  1. Increase / decrease area depending on age & group ability.
  2. Change roles so each player has an opportunity of being a defender & an attacker.
  3. If defender wins ball they can attack either goal.

Coaching

For attackers;

  • Accurate driven pass.
  • Good close ball control.
  • Assertiv, determined dribbling in tight space.
  • Use of both feet.
  • Change of direction.
  • Skills & turns.
  • Fakes.
  • Be direct.
  • Speed.
  • Be brave.

For defenders;

  • Deny time & space for opponents.
  • Pressure first touch.
  • Close down space quickly.
  • Jockey opponents.
  • Force player wide - away from gate.
  • Tackle opponent correctly - not from behind, make contact with ball & ensure correct timing.
  • Don't go to ground unless the ball is played out of play.
  • Showing a player inside - outside.
I am always keen to take what is learnt in the technical session into a tactical themed game.  I thought the 5 goal game was perfect as it encourages spatial awareness with changing the point of attack.  The scoring system encourages 1 v 1 and dribbling as a player dribbling through the gates receives a goal.  It also combines team play & passing.  If a player passes to a team mate they receive 2 goals and to encourage movement and support the team is awarded a bonus goal for a 1-2.
I had 16 players so I played 5 v 5 + a neutral player (i.e. they play with the team in possession making it 6 v 5).  To keep all players active and not to over crowd the pitch I played another team of 5 as wall players.  They were spread around the outside of the pitch and were restricted to 2 touches and couldn't be tackled but had to play at speed.  They could move up & down but not allowed to enter the playing area.  I played roughly 5 minutes a match with every team taking a turn as wall players.

5 Goal Game

5 Goal Game

Emphasis

Possession & combination game focusing on changing the point of attack.

Set-Up

2 equal teams play on half a pitch.  5 mini goals / gates are set up within the area using poles or dome cones.

You can adapt the size of the area & the amount of mini goals set up to suit your group.

Objectives

Teams combine to score a point through dribbling through the gates, passing through the gates or score a bonus point by playing a 1-2 / give-&-go through the gates.

Players are not allowed to score back-to-back goals in the same gate.

Progressions

  1. Add more mini goals / gates.
  2. Colour code certain gates, i.e. gates on the wing to encourage good width.

Coaching

  • Good first touch.
  • Quality passing.
  • Movement & work rate on / off ball.
  • Don't force it through gate, look to open up & switch.
  • Always receive ball side on.
  • Awareness.
  • Communication.
I finished with small sided games with no restrictions (again I rotated the teams but the resting team played as wall players to stay active).  Apart from some encouragement, praise and lighted heartedness let the kids play - they listen to us coaches enough!
Let me have your thoughts on my session plan and if you have tried it.  Great to have feedback!  One thing you will see is that my players always have a ball at their feet.  With the session being set up so well players did not get cold or frustrated.  They were kept moving during the entire session and I kept my coaching points short and to the point.  They were that busy enjoying the session the gale force winds and rain were forgotten about!

2010 Review

Happy New Year!  Now 2011 has arrived I thought I would review 2010 at the TWSports.Org Group.  From attracting Benfica to Belfast to travelling to Holland and Portugal it has been another action packed year.  I published my first book in March, celebrated 5 years of operating TWSports.Org in July and got married!

Of course I couldn't do this without your fantastic level of support and friendship.  I continue to re-invest to help continue to make our product the most innovative around along with offering the latest in technology with our websites, social media my new blog to help communicate and make ourselves available to you.

January - TWAcademy.Org announced a tour to Holland for August 2010.  Tour highlights included a game against PSV Eindhoven, a tour of PSV training complex, stadium tour and to watch a PSV first team game at the Philips Stadium.  Players involved in the Academy come together from Irish League sides and boys clubs.  Currently we have players from Glentoran, Cliftonville, Dungoyne, Larne Youth, Lisburn Youth, Ridgeway, Abbey Villa, Carryduff Colts and Lower Maze.

The Academy is open to all elite players that want access to additional elite training that focuses on technical training and game understanding.  To get your child involved contact myself by email or by phone, 07740120788.

February - The TWSports.Org Group increase their presence on the social media sites of Facebook, Twitter and You Tube.  Simply search for 'twsportsgroup' or click on the logos at the top of our web page and follow us for the latest news.  We have also made it easy to share pages from our websites by clicking the link button at the bottom of each page!

March - I published my first book, 'Toddler Soccer the Essential Guide'.  You can get a FREE download and your copy by clicking here.

You can listen to the BBC Radio Ulster interview on Tim's new book by following this link.

April - SL Benfica accepted TWSports.Org invitation to fly to Belfast to offer Coaching Clinics and Player Development Clinics.  Hugo Vicente & Edgar Cardosa led the clinics that attracted a number of local coaches, parents and children.  A family also flew in from New York to attend!  They spent the week in Northern Ireland and attended the TWSports.Org Easter Camp in Dundonald.

Over 60 children enjoyed the Easter Camp along with a SoccerSixes.Org tournament being played by a host of local clubs.  We catered for all boys and girls aged 2-13 along with an open age for children, young adults and coaches at the Benfica events!

May - 'Toddler Soccer the Essential Guide' book by Tim Wareing has now sold in 18 different countries!  This stretches from the UK and Ireland, across Europe to USA and Canada, the Far East and Australia!

You can order the paperback version or the e-book by clicking here!

June - Amazon and SoccerTutor.com are now selling Tim Wareing's new book!  Tim has done a telephone interview by his publisher to be used as a case study and offered another publishing deal to write a second book!

SoccerTutor.com have also requested that Tim writes a book based on elite coaching using his sessions as Academy Director at Distillery and his visits to FC Barcelona, PSV Eindhoven and Ajax.

July - What a special month!  TWSports.Org celebrated its 5th birthday!  Our Summer Camps offered over 14 venues across Northern Ireland and open to all boys and girls aged 2-13.

Director & Head Coach, Tim Wareing, married to his partner, Leanne.

August - 25 parents, children and coaches travelled to Holland for an unbelievable tour.  From start to finish everything was a huge success from our direct flights from Belfast to the 4* Hotel & luxury coach.

TWAcademy drew 4-4 with PSV Eindhoven's feeder team and then recorded a fine 9-1 victory over Helmond Sport.  Everyone enjoyed the tour of the PSV Eindhoven training complex along with the penalty shoot out with Hans Segars!  A game at the Philips Stadium topped the weekend off!

You can read a full report from our tour by clicking here & view our video by following this link.

September - We kicked off another new season - our biggest yet!  From offering 8 great products that cater for children aged 2 years +; to our web based products that have coaches registered from all over the world!

Along with the likes of Toddler Soccer, Mini Soccer & elite training through TW Academy we also offer other great packages to!  From 1-on-1 coaching and organising birthday parties to coaching in schools and at local clubs we offer the most inclusive and innovative product around!

October - A successful Halloween Camp is held which offers affordable day care solution for parents while children are off school.  Helping children get active, have fun and learn new skills from only £2 per hour!  A party is held for all children and parents at the end of the week.

We base all our Fun Camps on a normal school day from 10am-3pm with an early drop off service available from 9am.  For more information contact me by email or phone, 07740120788.

November - Tim Wareing organised a European Club visit to Braga, Portugal for his staff.  They studied the training methods of SC Braga along with taking in the Champions League game against Arsenal.

You can read a full report from our tour by clicking here & view our video by following this link.

December - We made developments to the layout of our websites.  We have free downloads of books, training sessions and videos!  Simply visit our sites and subscribe to our newsletters.  Along with our FREE chat facility (top left hand corner of each website) we launched a new blog, CoachTim.Org.

We continue to grow & have a huge following around the world that have registered to our web based sites & coach resource information.  The TWSports.Org Group has a number of exciting new features & opportunities as we enter 2011.  We will bring these to you & your child!

Thanks for the support in 2010.  Good just got better for 2011 & we look forward to sharing it with you all!

Tour to Holland

As Director of TWAcademy.Org I organised a tour for 25 boys & parents to travel to Holland.  The tour arrangements were organised by my close friend & top Dutch Coach, Bert-Jan (BJ) Heijmans.  The tour brought together a selection of boys from over 6 different boys & Irish League clubs.  The tour offered an opportunity to live the life of a professional during the 4 day training camp.

After a great flight from Belfast International to Schiphol Amsterdam we were met by a luxurious coach & good friend BJ.  We transferred to Den Bosch to our base at the 4* Hotel Vaught.  After checking into our rooms & unpacking we met up for a team meeting.  BJ took the opportunity to welcome everyone & explain in full the weekend ahead.  The squad then enjoyed a meal together before having a stroll to the old town.  The boys then headed to their rooms for a well deserved rest.

Saturday morning the team met for breakfast before transferring to VV Eindhoven, this is a feeder team of PSV Eindhoven.  After a team talk & warm up the boys took to the field for what would turn out to be an excellent performance & very entertaining game.

Eindhoven v TWAcademy.Org, Saturday

The match was played in 3 periods of 25 minutes.  During the first period we had a number of great chances created by some fast flowing football.  Unfortunately Mackie, Stewart & McCrory couldn't break the deadlock.  Against the run of play, & right before the first break, Eindhoven scored to go 1-0 up.  A very cool finish by the Eindhoven forward.

The second period was very exciting.  Mackie scored probably one of the hardest of his opportunities by finishing well with a volley to make the score 1-1.  More excitement was to follow after a free kick was awarded on the edge of the Eindhoven box.  Ryan McCrory stepped up to score a marvellous free kick into the right hand corner of the goal, 2-1 to TWAcademy!

All the goals seemed to be saved for the final period.  Eindhoven equalised, making the score 2-2.  Soon after Luke Fisher received the ball on the half way line & beat 2 players as if they weren't there.  He then outsprinted the covering defender before cutting inside & finishing with a lethal right foot finish, 3-2.  TWAcademy then took control with Mikey Crawford taking a well worked goal, 4-2.  The temperature continued to rise & some tired legs started to show.  Although it was the heads to go first, switching off from a corner Eindhoven pulled a goal back.  A number of the Academy players were frustrated & ran to the referee claiming that the corner was taken half way between near post & corner flag.  To their frustration this is allowed in Holland.  Again this shows how they tailor the game to the children in Holland.

With minutes remaining the talented PSV Eindhoven forward finished brilliantly to make the final score 4-4.  What a great performance by the young boys.  The scouts watching were very impressed & will monitor a number of the TWAcademy players.

Philips Stadium

After the game we enjoyed lunch on the executive bus that the Premiership teams use for games.  We transferred to PSV Eindhoven's ground, The Philips Stadium.  Our tour guide was very friendly, informative & interested in our party.  We got pitch side, taken through the changing rooms, media room & executive seating area.  We walked the corridors that many famous players & managers of the past have done.  This includes the great Sir Bobby Robson & players such as Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Before returning to the hotel we had opportunity to purchase some PSV gear in their shop.

Evening Session

BJ then took the boys for a training session at a fantastic indoor arena owned by our friend Martien Pennings.  Martien is a head scout at PSV & travelled over to Belfast to operate a clinic for coaches for TWSports.Org.

BJ's session involved all the players & each of them always had a ball.  You can view these sessions on a DVD that will be produced from our trip.  For more information contact me on, 077 4012 0788.

Helmond Sport v TWAcademy.Org, Sunday

After breakfast we transferred to Dutch First Division side, Helmond Sport.  With the first team being away we had the opportunity to play in the first team stadium, a 5000 all seater stadium!  What a great experience for the boys.  The pitch was shortened & smaller goals placed on either 18 yard line.  Again proving why the Dutch are more technically gifted & offer a more child friendly approach.

The game was quite one sided with TWAcademy.Org recording a great 10-1 win.  Although the Dutch counter parts were younger, played some nice football & never gave in.  Again a number of the TWAcademy players attracted interest.

The game finished with everyone hitting a penalty.  In both games our Dutch counterparts offered us all the balls, bibs, cones & water we required for our warm up.  We had showers & changing rooms & a club room for tea & coffee.

Dutch Taste

After the game we went to the local chippy to discover the Dutch equivalent to fish & chips!  Although some of the kids were not fussed on some of the items the parents & coaching team enjoyed it!

We then went for a game of bowls before transferring back to the Philips Stadium to watch PSV Eindhoven v AZ.  After a non eventful first half the second half improved & we cheered PSV on to a 2-1 victory.

After a very busy, but very enjoyable couple of days, we enjoyed a free night in the hotel.  Along with BJ & Danny we carried out player analysis after dinner.  This offered a 1-to-1 informative chat with each player to add to their game & how they can improve on any weaknesses.

PSV Eindhoven First Team Training, Monday

After breakfast we boarded the bus with our luggage sad knowing that it was our last day in Holland.  But to cheer us up BJ had organised another fantastic day!  We arrived at the first team training ground of PSV.  We saw a couple of first team & reserve team players train.  They also took the time to speak with us, sign autographs & pose for photos.

They also had their academy players in for a week of professional training.  2 sessions daily, basically training as a first team player.  It was fascinating to watch.  Kids had the freedom to train & coaches got down to their level & made it fun but always high tempo & use of the ball.

Hans Segers

I think the highlight was meeting ex Wimbledon keeper (aka crazy gang!) Hans Segers.  He is now a goalkeeper coach at PSV & organised a penalty shoot out for the boys against the PSV keeper!

It hit home to everyone - players & parents - to what I have been saying over the past number of years.  In Holland everyone is so approachable & down to earth.  There are no big egos or super stars.  This was our final meeting at PSV at what a way to finish on!

Ajax, Amsterdam ArenA

Before making our way back to the airport we stopped off to enjoy a stadium tour of Ajax at the Amsterdam ArenA.  We also had time to view the historic museum of this great European club.

On our way back to the airport our captains, Luke Fisher & Keegan Rice, presented BJ & our coach driver with gifts & made a speech through the microphone on the coach.  They spoke very well & it was very moving for BJ to have 2 young boys speak so well.

Observations

This was my fourth time in Holland.  So was great to meet up with friends & for so many parents & boys to see my love for the country & philosophy so much.  The boys & parents mixed so well.  It shows the training each week at the Academy really does add to their games along with what they receive outside of that.  In Holland boys of 11 & 12 will train up to 4 times per week.  In Northern Ireland the reality is once weekly, maybe twice.  This is why children attending the TWAcademy don't only benefit from another session but the quality coaching & opportunities they receive really does add to their game.

Another massive difference is that the Dutch continue to work with players & always keeping them at a level that suits.  While Premiership clubs (& youth teams in NI) replace up to 50% of their players it is no surprise long term development is not available & more & more players are leaving the game.

The DVD features BJ's analysis on this & what he thinks about TWAcademy.  If you want to hear more & watch more sign up to our Facebook page & You Tube channel.

This experience will live with us all.  We have made a video show casing what we do along with footage from our tour.  Watch our video review by clicking this link!

Future

The boys will continue to train with myself on a weekly basis.  Some also have booked & continue to avail of my 1-on-1 coaching.  We will return to Holland.  We also have an invite from Portugal.  Short term we will look at taking the boys over to visit BJ in Durham & play his side as well as Sunderland or Newcastle.

We also hope to organise player & coach exchange between TWAcademy & in Holland.  Many of our players attracted interest.  So if you would like to find out more about getting your child involved simply contact me now, 077 4012 0788 or by email.

Thanks

TWAcademy.Org would like to thank our sponsors; Absolute Marketing, Grounded Espresso Bars & Kaizen Print.  We extend our thanks to all the children & parents for their support.  Finally we thank all the clubs & people in Holland that welcomed us along with BJ who put together one magical experience!

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