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The European Approach

I really enjoyed writing this for The Soccer Store.  If you require any soccer equipment make sure you visit their website!

Why do our European neighbours seem to produce more technical gifted players that seem to play with so much flair & creativity compared to our home grown talent?  Over the years I have visited Holland, Spain & Portugal to see how they develop their players from grassroots through to pro clubs.  What is the relationship like with players, parents & the link from Pro Club to Boys’ Club.  You will be surprised with some of my findings…

The UK

I have been fortunate enough & made to feel very welcome with a number of top pro clubs in England.  The facilities are second to none but one problem I noticed straight away is the location.  Many of the training centres are in the middle of nowhere so unless you drive you can’t get there.  Talented children from low income families may struggle to get to the venues.  This was commented by a club official when I visited Derby County.  When we arrived at the training complex I commented on how nice the first team players’ cars were…he laughed & informed me they were the parents cars!

Coaches should always look to learn & evolve

Coaches should always look to learn & evolve

The other factor is the schedule.  Children are in school all day & then when they get home they are trying to do homework before Dad leaves work to get them to training on time…many occasions families struggling to eat dinner together.  So location & schedules are a problem but as we look closer at how a child starts playing football & progresses what is the typical learning experience?

Although the FA are improving education & development for clubs it will take time to filter down to grassroots.  For too long children start playing for their local club run by volunteers who aren’t qualified.  This is not a dig at those people who give up their free time to cater for young people but the FA, the professional clubs within the area & those members in the club should do more to improve a child’s first experience.

For too long training for children in the U.K. involves a number of laps around the pitch before coming back in for long winded conversations with the coach before doing long boring line drills.  Too much emphasis is on fitness & the adult game rather than a child centered approach.

Then when it comes to the game children as young as 9 are playing on a full size adult pitch with full size goals.  The ‘coaches’ scream instructions to the kids.  When they aren’t doing it the parents join in.  The shouts of ‘pass it’ & ‘get rid of it!’ put pressure on the child.  If a child tries something different like taking on an opponent with a bit of skill that doesn’t come off they get shouted at for losing the ball.  This is a culture that is teaching children to play in their comfort zone & not take risks.  As coaches are telling a child how to play the game, what to do in training all it is doing is creating robots that can’t think for themselves.  How can we create exciting players that play with flair, creativity & imagination?  We have done it in the past.  As a young child I remember the magnificent squad England had under Sir Bobby Robson that went to Italia ’90.  They got to the semi finals only to be beat on penalties by the Germans.

Let’s think about that for a minute.  In that squad we had exciting flair players of Chris Waddle, Peter Beardsley, John Barnes & the entrance of a young Paul Gascoigne.  These were players that could change games.  Add in the grit & determination of Terry Butcher, Stuart Pearce, Bryan Robson with the goalscorers of Gary Lineker & David Platt coming from midfield.  For too long the nation stood still & we never evolved.  In every walk of life you need to keep moving forward & looking to develop, to evolve, to create.

Spain

I suppose the Spanish are one of the best nations to look at first having won the last 3 major tournaments.  I spent a week in Barcelona viewing their famous youth set up.

While a host of other top European Clubs spend millions on players hoping to buy success Barca continue to develop their own home-grown players.  Messi, Iniesta & Xavi all came through the Barca Academy & cost nothing.  Barcelona’s youth Academy, which in Spanish goes by the name of ‘La Cantera’, meaning the quarry.

Start of a youth team session at Barca

Start of a youth team session at Barca

Other players to come through the Academy include Cesc Fabregas, who Arsenal took away at the age of 16 (has since returned),  Mikel Arteta from Everton (now Arsenal) & Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina.  Ex Barca manager, Pep Guardiola, also came through the Academy.  In his first season as manager he helped Barcelona win every competition they competed in, 6 in all, including the Spanish League title, World Club Cup & the Champions League against Manchester United.

Against United in the Champions League final, 7 of Barca’s starting line up were all produced from the Academy.  Goalkeeper Valdes, defenders Puyol & Pique, midfielders Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta & forward Messi.

When I visited Barcelona I loved the fact that the training complex was beside the Camp Nou.  The club has a boarding house that accommodates the older boys from the Academy.  Boys from the age of 13 or 14 that live outside the city are housed here so they don’t have to worry about travelling to and from training.  Typically they will train for 6-8 hours per week along with playing a game.  The club insures they also develop their lifestyle & attitudes along with their football education, preaching the importance of healthy eating & early nights.

The boys live, sleep & eat together.  Each morning they are bussed to the best local schools.  Barcelona stresses the importance of finishing their education to the boys.  They return at 2pm for lunch & siesta, with training early evening.  They do their homework in a library with access to private tutors & have a games room with table football, pool & PlayStations.

The boys have 3 objectives when playing matches.  First, they must be the more sporting team, committing fewer fouls & being less aggressive.  Then they must try to win by playing very well, more creatively than the opposition, with attacking football.  Finally they need to win on the scoreboard.

Reina and Arteta were great friends at the Academy.  Although Arteta suffered from homesickness & cried himself to sleep many times.  Iniesta also had problems with homesickness after moving from central Spain to Barcelona at the age of 12.   Saying goodbye to his parents at the end of each weekend would become a mini-drama.  Although Iniesta only had to look out & see the Camp Nou to remind himself of his goal to play there.

Messi arrived at Barcelona from Argentina with his family at the age of 12.  He had a growth deformity and no club in Argentina would pay for the drugs he needed to treat it.  It is no surprise that Barcelona took on Messi unlike in England, where size, strength & the ability to throw your weight around is highly prized.

The model of Barcelona is that 50% of their team should be from the Academy, 35% should be the best players from Spain or Europe & then 15% from the top ten players in the world.  Although the Barcelona Academy is so successful it is also producing players who are among the top ten in the world.  This season their starting XI has included a team made up of academy graduates!

The Academy has 12 boys’ teams.  In the Academy each squad has 2 coaches & there are 23 or 24 players in each group.  At least half of the coaches have a UEFA Pro licence.  The club provides the budget, around 6 million Euros per year, & is fully responsible for the academy facilities & training programme.

The qualities that Barcelona look for in a young player is pace, technique and someone who looks like a player.  The speed of decision-making, the way he approaches the game, the vision to pick off a long pass – in other words, the mental qualities to go with the technical ability.  The emphasis is on speed.  When this speed is combined with top-quality technique, then they believe they have the ingredients.

From the age of 7 to 15 everything is about working with the football at the Barcelona Academy.  With the very small boys, the most important thing is to control the ball very well, to have the ability to run with the ball & to think very quickly & execute their passes very well.  They use the same playing system as the first team, so all the youth teams play 4-3-3 formation.  The development teams have to play attacking, attractive football.  Barcelona believe if they do everything well, the winning comes as a consequence.

Every team I witnessed dressed exactly the same as the first team, right down to the youngest age group.  All sessions focused on ball work.  A high percentage of the time at the start of the sessions was given to the children to play with the ball.

Sessions also featured plenty of 1 v 1 duels.  Again, the kids were given a lot of freedom.  No lines, no cones or coaching area.  The concept was simple.  Half the group started on the throw in line with a ball.  They were partnered up & had a duel with their team mate to get to the other side using turns & tricks.  A slight competitive edge was introduced with scoring being kept between the boys.  The boys were given the freedom to dribble from one side to the other going forward, back, left or right.  It was realistic & fun as everyone was involved.

Sessions developed to passing & possession games.  Plenty of shooting drills were evident throughout all age groups.  All sessions finished with small sided games.

The older sections became more tactical but was set in a relaxed pace but roles were given to each individual.  Although lost in translation , coaches talked to their players in a calm voice.  All the players from the youngest group up applied themselves & were all comfortable on the ball.

They also like to keep an open mind & expose players to different playing roles as part of their education.  They work intensely on the individual skill, but also on group play, including each line of the team.  They train the Barca way which involves fast movement of the ball, player mobility, use of width, & a lot of fast, effective finishing.  They watch the passing movements of the first team as they provide the role model of the youth teams.

Another factor which helps continue the development of young players is that Barcelona have a ‘B’ team.  They play in the lower Spanish League. This helps the club continue to develop young players between the ages of 18 & 21 in a controlled environment.  In England the FA prevent Premier League clubs from having feeder teams in other domestic leagues.

The Barcelona model is based on a number of people providing specialist skills & all working in the same direction, with the same objective: to prepare players for the first team.

Other European Nations

One thing that struck me when visiting the European clubs was their openness & welcome they offered.  Especially in Holland, a nation with ‘no secrets’ that wanted to work with all coaches.  The relationship from professional clubs to grassroots clubs seemed so much closer.  Yet listening to the pro coaches the concept was simple & refreshing.  At PSV Eindhoven they informed us that they had links with a number of grassroots clubs, as does all Dutch Pro clubs.  They regularly visit the clubs & offer coach education & session plans.  This helps the grassroot coaches deliver better sessions & in turn help develop better players.  The junior clubs know exactly the level of player that the senior clubs require as they visit the academy on a regular basis.  So when they feel they have a talent they contact the club to come & watch them.

At PSV Eindhoven the Academy Director gave us a presentation on the blue print to their academy!  On another visit the first team manager talked to us for 30 minutes.  Players posed for photos, signed autographs.  In fact at the PSV training complex they are happy for coaches & fans to visit.  On my last visit I sat drinking a coffee while watching the first team train only yards away!

The academy players are transported from their homes to the training complex & school.  This offers opportunity for them to train twice a day without missing out on their education.  I watched the pre development squad train.  It happened to be their last session of the season.  After the session they were all given a signed poster from the first team & a letter from the club.  My Dutch friend translated the letter.  It was coming direct from PSV Eindhoven thanking them (the player) & the parent for their commitment & hard work.  I found this so refreshing, a top European club thanking the child & the parent!

Portugal

Although it is common for these pro clubs in Europe to be so respectful toward the player & parent.  My good friend, Hugo Vicente (ex Benfica & now assistant academy director of SC Braga), explained that without the parent they don’t have the child so the respect is there.  Although I often remember some of the great stories his Benfica Academy Director got up to.

In a staff training meeting he brought one of the staff up to the front & slapped him on the face.  The dazed coach looked at him as he said, ‘you weren’t expecting that’!  As he went to slap his face again the coach was ready for him so this time he kicked him!  The member of staff received a slap on the face then a kick to the leg!  Why?  This was his way of asking his coaches to preach to their players that he wanted them to play with creativity, to improvise, to play with surprise!  Simply put if a player always attempts the same skill there is no element of surprise for the opposition & they can prepare to expect it.  But the coach who was hit on the face was expecting the same thing again as the hand moved toward him then in a split second he got kicked!  Expect the unexpected!?

The same Academy Director had a novel way of dealing with parents shouting from the touch line telling their kids what to do.  In England the parents are told to stand behind a piece of rope normally 50 yards away from the pitch.  In Portugal it is different.  If a parent shouts or tries to coach their son they simply sub their child!  This way the club don’t need to speak to the parent the kid does it for them as they don’t want to be replaced.  Although on one occasion they had a repeat ‘offender’.  The Benfica AD went up to the father before kick off & passed him a Playstation remote control.  The puzzled parent looked at him & was told, ‘If you want your kid to shoot press the ‘X’ button, hit ‘O’ for pass & the ‘triangle’ for tackle…now shut up’!  Brilliant!

Juggling education & training can be a challenge

Juggling education & training can be a challenge

It isn’t always perfect in Europe.  One problem they have in Portugal is the balance of school work to training.  School times vary in Portugal.  Some mornings start anytime from 9am to 11am & lessons can go through to 5pm, although they have a longer lunch break.  When I met with a young player called Pedro from the U13′s it was nice to speak about his schedule & experience.

A typical day for Pedro starts at 7.30am.  Wake up call, shower & breakfast.  The club will then send a car or club bus to take Pedro to school at 8am.  Lessons will start at 8.30am & continue through to lunch at 12pm.  Pedro will then head to a restaurant before returning to school at 1.30pm.

In Portugal they have extended lunches but school can finish later.  On this particular day lessons didn’t finish to 6.30pm.  He then travelled back for an evening training session with Braga U13′s at 7.45pm.  The session was shorter on the night we were there, it lasted one hour.  Pedro then showered, changed & head for a meal at 9pm.  Club officials would insure the young players are accompanied to restaurants.

Pedro arrived home to start homework at 10pm before bed time at 11pm.

I must stress that this schedule is variable.  Some day’s school finishes at 4pm & home work can be completed then.  On other days lessons will start later so Pedro can have a longer rest.

Personally I was surprised at the long days.  Pedro admitted on this particular day he was feeling tired but I was impressed at the same time how the club monitor their young players.

Schedule

The club will always arrange transport for players that are away from home.  This includes too & from school, training & meals.  At meals they will always insure, especially the younger players that they eat with a club official or the U19′s.

Although Pedro lives away from his family & misses them he simply told us he adapts.  He lives in an apartment owned by the club with 3 other boys & looked after by a ‘Nanny’.  The adult will look after the boys.  Generally the boys will partner up & share a room each.  He will see his family generally every weekend.  If he has a game on the Saturday his father will come along to watch the game.  After the match Pedro will travel home with his father & return on Monday morning.

The club try to send all the children to the same school so they can adapt a schedule to suit their training sessions.  They eat together so that the club can control what they eat & when they eat.  The players will generally eat red meat on Monday & Tuesday, white meat on Wednesday & then pasta, etc. thereafter.  The nutritionist talks with the restaurant to adapt & suit the weekly programme.  The boys’ height & weight are recorded every month too.  The club also has 3 Doctors to attend to any sickness.

Players, at this level, will generally train 4 times per week.  The U19′s will train every day & also receive wages.  The accommodation, schooling, transport & food are all paid for by the club.

Braga has psychologists that work alongside the club.  If a coach knows he will be releasing a player the psychologist will work closely with that player but not obviously tell him right away.  The club will also try to find another club for the player.

Summary

The first thing that I picked up on from my first visit to this club was the family feel it had.  Everyone greeted each other with a welcome, smile & hand shake.  This is very positive & creates a real togetherness.  The set up is very impressive.  All sessions concentrated heavily on the technical side of the game.  This includes use of the ball along with pressurised drills & sessions.

Personally I was surprised at Pedro’s schedule when I was talking to him but I suppose we have to consider that this was possibly his busiest day.  Other days of the week had later starts, or earlier finishes or a non training night.  Although in some cases it is no difference from a child living in the UK that has to juggle schooling, homework, meals, transport & training.

The big difference I feel is the interest they take in each individual child.  The club record everything from school work to eating habits & from training to simply monitoring their height, weight & rest.  Also for the players living away from home.  The effort they put into for accommodation, transport & duty of care.  Then the long term development & future of the child is put as most importance with every last detail thought of – even if they unfortunately have to let a player go.

It was nice to sit & have a meal with one of the players at this age group.  It also, I suppose, shows how quick they mature as in Pedro’s words he simply ‘adapts’.  He obviously enjoys what he does even if he does miss being away from his family.  I found all the Braga Academy players to be confident young players that behaved & worked very hard in all sessions & games.

Europe v UK

Overall I think the relationship with grassroots & professional clubs is so much closer throughout Europe.  England at times can seem to have a massive gap in that respect.  The focus on ball work, dribbling & small sided games is evident but to be fair England are now rolling out a programme right down to grassroots to focus on this.  I feel the major problem will be converting the old school at the bottom.

Data from the 2008 UEFA Coaching Convention shows that England has 1,759 B Licence coaches, 895 A Licence coaches & 115 Pro Licence coaches.  France has 15,000 (B), 2.400 (A) & 188 (Pro).  Spain has 9,135 (B), 12,720 (A) & 2,140 (Pro).  While Germany has 28,400 (B), 5,500 (A) & 1,070 (Pro).  Although the FA’s acclaimed & highly respected Nick Levett has responded to say that each Football Association roughly develop the same amount of coaches per annum & that the results weren’t realistic, i.e. The Spanish apparently awarded many 70 year olds with their B Licence who most likely no longer coach.

At the same time the UK has a mentality of having 8 mini clubs within each club.  Although they share the same identity through badge & colours they compete against each other rather than forming a strong youth system.  There is many stories of parents falling out with coaches & taking their son away & starting their own club!  I feel there is too many clubs which result in too many unqualified coaches resulting in a poor youth education for the player.

In Holland they generally only have 1 or 2 clubs for each village or town.  Many clubs with have 100 teams within their set up.  Rather than U9, U10, U11, etc.  They have A, B, C, D, E, F & G.  ‘G’ being U10 but they could have 10 teams at that age group, i.e. G1, G2, G3, G4, etc.  G1-G3 teams will be the most developed kids playing against other clubs G1-G3 teams.  While G7-G10 will be the late developers, the recreation players, etc. who will play against players there only level.  This means the Dutch will very rarely have a game that will finish with more than a 3 goal deficit.  They also play with a lighter ball on reduced playing fields.  They have 15 & 16 year olds refereeing the games while parents use the games as a social event.

When I took my academy team over to Holland many of my parents were shocked that the kids played in such a relaxed atmosphere.  The main voice you could here was the children’s voices.  Parents stood & chatted while watching the game.  All the clubs ask in return is what can you offer when you register your child.  They mean what time can you offer.  You could have someone volunteering 4 hours per week that will simply assist with kit or working in the bar area.

I can’t stress enough, if you are a coach you need to visit Holland to see what I mean.  The Dutch are so organised & the club we visited hosted over 50 games on that Saturday!  This was from children to seniors including women’s & an over 65′s team!

The coaching style across Europe is simple.  They encourage the players to think for themselves & let the small sided game be the teacher.  They get away from the ‘stop / stand still’ tactic to coaching within the game & summarizing at the end.

The Future

Certainly it is not all doom & gloom.  Manchester United are renowned for their way of thinking.  When they play 8 v 8 they will ask the opposition can their 4 subs play Manchester United’s 4 subs a 4 v 4 game so everyone is involved.  The focus on the technical side of the game is improving at all levels.

A recent visit to Watford FC & the Harefield Academy was very refreshing.  Nick Cox is the Watford Academy Director.  It is very interesting listening to Nick & seeing the thought process & the importance of everyone at the club to the school backing the concept.  The typical English Academy system will have boys going to school as normal then returning home to start homework, eat dinner & then to be transported by a parent to training.  This adds a busy schedule to each individual boy & adds pressure to the family life.  It is not uncommon for a father to return home from work early & to eat on the way to take his son to training.  Nor is it uncommon for that child to be up at 7.30am on the morning & on the go all day to 9.30-11pm at night.

Watford made many visits to European Academies to see what suited them best to move forward as a club.  The Dutch Academy set up was one of choice, especially a club called Willem II.  They have a similar set up in terms of stadium size, club structure, fan base, etc.  The big difference in the Academy structure was the club would work in partnership with a school.  This is what Watford FC based their concept on.  Although it was not copying the Dutch club they would simply set up an academy to best suit Watford FC & their Academy players.

The main positives for club, school & player include;

  • Increased contact time for training with the boys.  From an average of 3,500 hours to 9,000 hours (approx 10-12 hours per week but up to 15 hours available)
  • Greater Academic support & discipline – less conflict between school & club.
  • Prime time training – day light & on grass (indoor 3G dome available too)
  • Better home lifestyle – more family time with less inpact, i.e. transport & finance.
  • Professional lifestyle – more training, less late nights, regular meals, less hectic.
  • Better relationship with players – get to know them better.
  • Optimum time for education & sport.

Typical Day

Below you will find a typical schedule for a Watford Academy player attending Harefield Academy.  Classes are mixed, i.e. not exclusive to all WFC players.

  • 6.45am – Pick Up
  • 8.15am – Lesson 1
  • 9.15am – Football Training with WFC Academy Coaches
  • 11am – Lesson 2
  • 12pm – Lunch
  • 12.30pm – Lesson 3
  • 1.30pm – Lesson 4
  • 2.30pm – Normal day ends
  • 2.50pm – Study (home work / support)
  • 4.20pm – Day ends
  • 4.45pm – Football Training with WFC Academy Coaches

So you can see as a nation we are moving forward.  It wasn’t so long ago that Manchester United produced Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Phil Neville & Nicky Butt.  Although important to research other nations & see what they are doing it is important to find the right formula that suits the UK.  For me a closer link to grassroots & more contact time to players is a massive start along with more qualified coaches & focus on CPD.

Braga Visit TW Academy in Belfast

We were pleased to welcome Portuguese side, SC Braga, to Belfast over the Easter period.  My good friend & Braga’s Assistant Academy Director, Hugo Vicente, travelled with his U13 side.  They were taking part in a tournament in Dublin.  We organised for them to travel up to see Belfast & play TWAcademy.

SC Braga U13 side that drew with TWAcademy.Org 1-1 in Belfast

SC Braga

Sporting Clube de Braga is commonly known as Sporting de Braga or simply Braga.  They play at the AXA Stadium which is also known as ‘The Quarry’ or the ‘Tool Box’.  This is due to the design where the stadium is built inside a Quarry with cables attaching the 2 main stands.  The ground was built for UEFA Euro 2004.

Braga had been known as Arsenal do Minho and changed their kits from green and white hoops to their Arsenal style red in 1935.  This is due to their coach, Jozsef Szabo, visiting and watching Arsenal at the old Highbury ground.

The emblem of Sporting de Braga is the city of Braga’s shield with Mother Mary and baby Jesus.  On the top of the emblem is the golden Mural Crown of Braga, with the name Sporting Clube de Braga on it.  Many fans of Braga have said that Mother Mary gives them luck.  The fans of Braga are known as Arsenalistas due to their team home kit that resembles that of English club Arsenal.

After finishing runners up in the Portuguese league during season 2009 / 2010 they qualified for the knock stages of the Champions League. They defeated Celtic and Sevilla to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League for the very first time.

Youth Set Up

Braga provides teams from 7 / 8 year olds and above.  The younger section of the Academy will train 3 times per week along with a match.  They concentrate heavily on ball mastery and 1 v 1 duels on defence and attack.

Players also receive homework so they really develop and are confident using both feet.  Braga will work closely with a number of other local clubs.  They play in a number of tournaments so they are playing against the best.

They will play small sided games on smaller pitches and with a smaller ball at the young age.  Their U13′s play 11 v 11 on a full size pitch.  I suppose one of the problems is with the local leagues that they are forced to play in.  Some opposition are very poor.

As the players get older they will start to train more.  The U19′s for example are in every day.  They also have players from all over the world.  The nationalities in the squad asides from Portuguese include; German, Greek, Brazilian along with a number of players on trial from Africa.

The U19′s train at the old Braga stadium which is a great facility.  The Spain National team used this as their base during Euro 2004.  They also play their home games here.  An athletic club also operate out of the same base.  During the week that we were in Braga there had been a lot of rain so the training was transferred to 2 full size 3G pitches that are at the same location.  They are Council run but a great facility to fall back on.

Belfast Welcome

MLA, Chris Lyttle, from Alliance Party welcomes SC Braga to Belfast at the NI Assembly

We organised a coach to transfer the players, staff & parents of SC Braga from their Dublin base to Belfast.  Chris Lyttle, MLA, from the Alliance Party organised a tour around the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont.  This is were the Good Friday Agreement was signed.  The players & coaches enjoyed the tour & were able to get some great photos.

It was also superb to welcome a good ‘Twitter’ friend of mine called Liam.  He flew in from England to enjoy the full day…showing a real hunger to learn & develop as a coach!

After the tour it was back on to the Braga coach & transfer to Belfast Boys’ Model School to play the challenge game at the fantastic venue of Mount Pleasant on the 3G pitch.

Braga playing in their famous red tops while TW Academy turned out in their bright orange tops like the Dutch!  It was a very well contested game of football.  The technical ability from both sets of players on show was impressive.  TW Academy started well & were very disciplined & played some attractive football.

Very secure at the back with Matthew & Jamie having excellent games in front protecting the back 4 it allowed freedom for the attacking players to try & create opportunities.  It was Curtis Ritchie who controlled the ball toward the end of the first period & beat the Braga defender.  Stephen Wilson then made a great run from the right & when Ritchie weighted the perfect ball Wilson made no mistake with the finish.  What a goal it was going in off the underside of the crossbar!  TW Academy 1-0 SC Braga.

The side that played SC Braga in Belfast

The second period was much more even.  Braga started creating more opportunities.  It was a pass that was made for the Braga forward that the defenders thought was off side but he didn’t stop & put the ball in the back of the net to equalise, 1-1.

Both teams in the last period defended well.  The central defenders of TW, Nathan Kerr & Louis Simpson, made it difficult for Braga to break them down.  The final score was 1-1.  The parents & supporters enjoyed a very entertaining game.  What an experience for our boys, & myself, to prepare & play against a top European Academy!  It was evident how developed the Braga players were & how comfortable they all are on the ball.  It was a nice test for us.

Hugo Vicente, Assistant Academy Director of Braga, commented; ‘I was very impressed with your team considering this was your first game together with a new squad & you only have access to the players once a week.  That is a testament to the work you & Lee carry out.  Imagine what you could achieve if you had them 3-4 times per week what you could achieve!’

Watch the match highlights by clicking here!

Player & Coaches Clinic

After the game the boys from both teams transferred to Belfast Boys’ Model School for refreshments before they returned to Dublin.  We supplied all the players with a goodie bag thanks to the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.  I also included a copy of my ’1-on-1 Coaching The Secrets To Improve ALL Football Players – GUARANTEED!’ book for each of the players.

Hugo Vicente shares the methods of SC Braga - fascinating night!

Our players remained with a number of coaches for the player development & coaches clinic.  Nigel Best from the Irish Football Association was pleased to award 5 credits for coaches CPD.  Hugo Vicente led the clinic assisted by the Braga Director of Goalkeeping, Ricardo.

Below is the report of the clinic from my Academy Assistant, Lee Hodge…

Aims

  • Develop players with initiative and top technical ability
  • Develop players’ able understanding, analyse and decide with quality in the game. – (Game based training helps develop intelligent players so they always include defenders)
  • Develop players with the right mentality and ambition to reach the 1st team and to play at top level football
  • Be a Community Partner (i.e. help them with school work, social lives etc.)

What they want to develop

  • Develop players through a clear vision
  • Create players in a team context and not teams (focus on individuals)
  • Specific contents for each age group, to develop the player in each dimension; Technical, Tactical, Mental and Physical
  • Creating a demanding environment but fun environment and ensuring the sessions are age appropriate

(We need to put ourselves in the players place – what do they want?)

Main focus is on individual development – Play players up if required. They are willing to lose to win in a few years’ time when it matters.

They believe when working with children it is essential to show you care. Then they will be willing to learn – BE THEIR FRIEND!

  • Focus on technical ability
  • Focus on speed
  • Focus on aggressiveness
  • FORGET ABOUT SIZE

The club also do one on one training with each player every week to improve these areas.

When the teams are playing the coaches limit the players when they don’t have the ball but not when they have the ball.

At the club they strongly believe in having a club vision. Therefore, they promote coaches after training to sit together and discuss the vision and develop ideas on how to achieve the clubs aims.

Hugo & Ricardo work with the players while educating the coaches

Specific Contents

Technique

  • Dribbling
  • Protect the ball
  • Moves
  • Shooting
  • Receiving and Control
  • Short Pass
  • Long Pass and Crosses
  • Heading
  • Other Behaviours

Defensive Techniques

  • Closing Down
  • Tackling
  • Charging

Under 9’s Syllabus

  • Technical development is top priority
  • Usage of weaker foot – condition games
  • Rules of the game
  • Basic tasks on different phases of the game
  • Learning the game principles
  • Learning the specific playing principles of the club: Focus on progression and closing down
  • Same percentage of playing time for each player
  • Players play in every position
  • 7v7 at this age group

Under 13’s

  • Technical development
  • Weaker foot
  • Pre specialisation: Players play in two or three positions according to their characteristics
  • Specific game principles based on the way we play
  • Percentage of usage time is merit based: According to the balance between quality and commitment
  • Control the game – don’t lose the ball

(Results are important as the games are reported in the papers).

Session Model

1st Phase – They do not believe in warm ups. Therefore they will play games such as tag.

2nd Phase – 1v1, 2v1, 2v2, 3v1

3rd Phase – 4v2, 4v3, 4v4, 5v2, 5v3, 5v4, 6v3, 6v4

4th Phase – 6v4, 7v5, 7v6

Final Phase – 7v7 with no coach intervention

Liam filmed some of the sessions in the clinic…the links are below;

Braga Clinic – Part 1

Braga Clinic – Part 2

Braga Clinic – Part 3

The European Approach

After the clinic Hugo & Ricardo took the time to speak with coaches.  This is typical of the European approach.  They don’t look at their watch or think I’m not being paid for this!  Remember they had departed Dublin at 7.30am & were still talking to coaches well after 9pm!  We got cleared up & drove them to Dublin.  Again many people would think that they don’t want to drive to Dublin at that time as they wouldn’t be home to after 2am…take 4 hours…spend money on petrol.  For me?  Easy decision, I jump at it.  Not just because Hugo is a great friend of mine & puts himself out for me when I visit him but I never stop learning.  In a car for a couple of hours with top European coaches develops me as well!

Can we change a culture here?  Let’s stop looking at our watches & thinking what’s the point…let us think can we develop & continue learning as coaches?  If it is the latter join me on my journey…

Thank you…

Massive thank you to SC Braga, Hugo, Ricardo, it’s coaching team, players & parents for offering us such a wonderful opportunity to play against them.  Thank you to my players & parents for supporting the event.  Massive thank you for the coaches that attended – especially Liam from England!  What can I say about my team of coaches?  Lee Hodge my assistant that worked so hard in the lead up to the event & on the day.  Frank McLean who did referee & loads of jobs for me.  My young coaches of Craig & Brad who assisted on the day with set up & filming.  I’m sure I have forgotten someone so very sorry if I have…of course the support from the rest of the team that kept our weekly centres operating on the day.  My wife & kids deserve a massive thank you for their hard work & organising they did on the day & lead up to the event.

Professionally I would like to thank Chris Lyttle MLA from the Alliance Party.  Darren Nixon & Belfast Boys’ Model School.  Grounded Coffee for supplying sandwiches & Julie from the Mace at Greenway, Cregagh for supplying refreshments.  The Northern Ireland Tourist Board for the welcome packs for the Braga kids.  Again I hope I haven’t left anyone out!

Dublin Tournament

For those interested in watching some footage from the Dublin tournament that Braga took part in I have included links below.  They defeated Brondby from Denmark 6-0 to help progress to the semi finals.  They faced a very talented Arsenal side.  Enjoy!

SC Braga v West Brom

SC Braga v Arsenal (Part 1)

SC Braga v Arsenal (Part 2)

Pressing Issue

I’m a massive fan of possession type games in training.  All my teams over the years have been drilled with hearing, ‘KEEP IT’, ‘KEEP IT’, from me which relates to keeping control of the ball.  Keeping possession of the ball insures you keep control of the game.  This obviously leads you along the way to winning games by adding creativity in the final third & of course scoring!

Communicate to work as a team to press or screen

Although at a recent session of mine I had a player scream with frustration to his team mates to ‘press’.  The other team were keeping the ball so well but his team didn’t work as a unit.  While he was closing down players his team mates were not.  This made it easy for the team in possession but very frustrating for the player working so hard on his own!

I love asking my players open questions to get them thinking.  The age group varies from 11-13.  I asked the player what the problem was.  He answered correctly by informing the group that he was pressing the ball while his team didn’t.  With this in mind the following week I planned a session around it.

I love my teams to play with speed so I not only wanted to create a session that encouraged teams when to press or screen but if they were to win the ball encourage a point of attack developing to counter attacking.  One of the best examples in the Premiership is Manchester United that attack at such speed.  They win the ball & look to hurt & punish teams on the counter attack.  With the speed of the attacking players in front of the defence from Ashley Young, Nani, Cleverley, Rooney & Hernandez along with the pace of Evra & Fabio can rip teams apart.  So I wanted to add this into my session.

Warm Up

As my players arrive they each get a ball & go for a dribble.  They perform tricks, turns & juggle the ball.  This is their time to get warmed up & have a chat with their team mates.  I often then do group keepie up challenges & some 3 v 1 keep ball.  To lift the intensity we had a quick game of dribbling tag…

Dribbling Tag

Dribbling Tag

Emphasis

Fun dribbling warm up played like ‘TIG’.

Set-Up

Use cones to mark out a 20 x 20 yard area. Everyone has a ball. The person who is ‘IT’ carries a bib.

Objectives

The player who is ‘IT’ has to carry a bib & dribble their ball to try & catch someone as quickly as possible.

For younger players call the person who is ‘IT’, ‘TIGO’ (pronounce it T-GO.) I find it adds to the fun & banter!

Other players should avoid ‘TIGO’ & perform skills to get away from them. If ‘TIGO’ catches someone they simply pass the bib to them to carry & the game continues.

Progressions

  1. Make more than one person ‘TIGO’.

Coaching

  • Dribbling skills.
  • Turns & tricks.
  • Keep head up.
  • Awareness.
  • Attack space.
  • Change of speed.
After some stretching, water break & Speed, Agility & Quickness we got straight into the main session.  I always like to break sessions down, especially when working with children.  You can get the key message across then build the session up.  It is essential as coaches that we build & develop a session smoothly.  There is nothing worse than a session that jumps from one thing to another.  Pick your topic & build it up.
Press or Screen

I wanted to work on a session that allowed flexibility & communication for players to operate as a unit.  I wanted them to be disciplined.  A lot is made of Barcelona that they work to a strict 6 second transition game.  If they lose the ball they hunt in packs to win it back within 6 seconds.  If they fail to win the ball they retreat back into their positions & ask the opposing team to break them down.  They are disciplined & patient.
This game offers exactly that.  When to hold, screen to stop teams playing through the midfield unit & when to press & win the ball.  I was very pleased with the outcome.  Feel free to adapt.  I also carried the session out with 3 players across the middle…adapt to suit your system & players.

Press Or Screen

Press Or Screen

Emphasis

Decision making on when to win the ball & when to hold as a unit.

Set-Up

Set up a 20 x 15 yard area.  4 v 4 midfielders 5 yards apart with a forward centrally located outside the grid at either end.

Objectives

Object is to gain possession & pass the ball forward to forward before opposition.

Play starts with one group of midfielders simply passing the ball from right to left.

Progressions

  1. Vary the player who communicates in the centre.
  2. As the group develops make the area larger.
  3. Move the ball at different speeds & ask the attacking team to start switching, etc.

Coaching

  • Concentrate on closing down – ‘PRESS’.  When a player goes to win possession players around them close space – tuck in.  Don’t dive in!
  • Then, ‘SCREEN’.  Basically players don’t allow the ball to be played forward – looking over their shoulder to stop the ball being played to the target.  Adjust!
  • Keep shape, apply pressure while others react & drop off but cover space in behind.
  • Communication.
  • Nearest player pressures the ball.
  • On the call, ‘PRESS’, all players should look to win the ball off the opposition.
Develop

I wanted to develop the session & offer players more freedom but at the same time keep the intensity.   This next session helped keep it game related while setting targets & incentives to keep the ball & also to win the ball.  Again adapt the session to suit your team & requirements.  Possibly set a time limit to win the ball back?

Pass, Move & Support

Pass, Move & Support

Emphasis

Possession game with the focus on a switch of play.

Set-Up

Play takes place on a 60 x 40 yard grid which is split down the middle.

Objectives

6 v 5 in one half.  The team with 6 attackers look to keep possession.  The 5 defenders look to win the ball.

Attackers should pass the ball quickly & accurately amongst themselves, passing & moving as required.  On gaining possession the opponents should switch the ball to the awaiting player & move quickly into the other half to support them.

On loosing possession, 5 players should switch so that it is 6 v 5 again.  This will again leave 1 target player in the other half.

The player left on their own should always adjust their position so to make themselves available.

Offer a goal for set number of passes achieved.

Progressions

  1. Have 2 players wait in the other half to increase success of session, i.e. 6 v 4.
  2. Adjust size of grid to suit players ability.

Coaching

  • Work rate & movement on / off ball.
  • Quality passing.
  • Good support & angled runs.
  • Communication.
  • Speed of play.
  • Pressure.
Coaching in a Game…

The importance of taking everything from your session & applying it into a conditioned game is so important.  On a recent trip to Braga I watched this game with one of the youth teams.  I loved the concept.  It has everything that we are working to.  It also encourages the players never to give the ball away.  If they lose possession of the ball they lose their attack…they have to stop & watch the other team attack & then they have to defend the next time the ball comes into their half.

Regardless whether it is Northern Ireland, England, Portugal or Spain…players hate losing the ball!  One very talented kid was in a team that kept losing the ball.  You could see the frustration in him that his team mates continued to make mistakes.  Although I don’t speak Portuguese I had a very good idea what he was shouting at his team mates when they lost possession of the ball!!

As you develop this game you can then allow the team that lost possession to gain it back before the other team leaves the half.  This keeps it very game realistic & players working very hard in possession of the ball & without.

Braga’s Concentration Of Transition

Braga's Concentration of Transition

Emphasis

To win ball & counter attack at speed.

Set-Up

Play takes place on half a pitch with 2 full size goals & the pitch split in half by cones.

A supply of balls are placed in each goal with a keeper at either end.  Organise 3 teams of 6.  A team of white is in one half with 6 red v 6 yellow in the other half.

Objectives

Red attack yellow.  If yellow gain possession of the ball the red team stop while the yellow team attack the white team in the other half.

Teams continue to attack until they lose the ball.

The session is based around transition.

Progressions

  1. The team that loses possession can try to regain the ball before it leaves their half.

Coaching

Trying to win possession;

  • Concentrate on closing down – ‘PRESS’.  When a player goes to win possession players around them close space – tuck in.  Don’t dive in!
  • Keep shape, apply pressure while others react & drop off but cover space in behind.
  • Communication.
  • Nearest player pressures the ball.
  • On the call, ‘PRESS’, all players should look to win the ball off the opposition.
  • Recovery run.

In possession;

  • Break & attack at speed.
  • Quality passing – weight & accuracy.
  • Decision making.
  • Support play.
  • Work rate on / off ball.
  • Receive ball side on.
  • Head up.
  • Play simple pass or run with ball.
  • Look for space.
  • Use of width & depth.

Cool Down & Debrief…

I always have one of my players organise a cool down from the previous week so they lead their team mates at the end of each session.  This offers them confidence & a feel of leadership.  We then discuss the main points from the session.  Of course before we start the cool down I always offer the players time to play a normal game with no conditions.

Coaches, always adapt.  My diagrams above will show a certain amount of players but if you don’t have enough – adapt!  Adjust the size of the pitch too.  Insure your players enjoy the training but demand a lot of hard work from them at the same time.

Want more info?  You can access over 450 of my session plans by clicking here!  Follow me on Facebook, Twitter or You Tube

Typical Schedule of an U13 European Player

I travelled to SC Braga, Portugal during April.  This was my second visit to the Europa League Finalists; you can see my first report by clicking here.  2 of my coaching team travelled with me to visit my good friend & Youth Director, Hugo Vicente.  Braga this season have created a lot of headlines by beating a number of British teams in the Champions League including Celtic, Arsenal & then Liverpool in the Europa League.  They then beat Benfica in the semi final to set up a final against Porto in this year’s final at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin.  The final takes place this evening & I’ll be there to cheer them on!

We flew from Dublin into Porto.  We had time to explore this beautiful city & walk around Porto’s Stadium.  This was the first time I had been in the city (apart from commuting through to Braga.)  Porto is situated in Northern Portugal & is a busy industrial & commercial centre.

The weather was terrific, 30 degrees +.  On arrival we jumped into a taxi to head to the stadium.  Finding that not many locals spoke English I had to use my Portuguese which involves talking louder, slower & in a European accent.  After demonstrating my silky football skills with the imaginary ball we were soon on our way.

Porto had just been crowned Portuguese champions.  Although on arrival at the stadium we were disappointed to learn that they only operate tours from Thursday – Sunday with games also affecting the tours.  We arrived on a Wednesday so made do with walking around the outside of the ground & looking in…& a quick visit to the supporters shop.

Hugo, who was conducting a morning training session, suggested we went to the cafe bars at Ribeira (pictured.)  Well want an adventure.  The taxi driver couldn’t understand us & must have simply taken us to his brother’s cafe lol.  Although it was a lovely cafe & we grabbed a few cold Super Bocks (the local beer) for only €1…we soon seen the funny side of being nowhere near Ribeira!  After a few fun conversations, a number of stops in bars to keep hydrated we arrived at Ribeira to meet Hugo.

It was great to see Hugo again.  He is a modern coach, loves to learn & share ideas & has a hunger to succeed.  To enjoy his company over some of the best tasting food & drink was unreal.  After lunch we had a walk around Porto with the multilingual Hugo – he speaks 6 or 7 different languages!

Typical Portugal

The city is quite varied in terms of its architecture.  We seen many old, beautiful buildings sat next to modern new buildings.  Porto’s geography is hard on the feet, but pleasant to the eye.   The city is extremely hilly, with many buildings built into a cliff face that overlooks the river.

I’m not one for heights or water.  So met with the challenge of walking across the cast iron bridge, which is at least 100ft above the river, & being able to see right through was not an easy challenge!  I tried to walk further away from the edge but also had trams to contend with coming on the other side of me!

We had fun climbing down the stairs (cut into the stone running up and down the cliff face) after a few Super Bocks!  Across the river, in the suburb of Gaia, are located the warehouses of notable companies dealing with Port Wine, such as Cálem, Fonseca, Sandemans, Kopke, and others.  This is where we sat facing eating lunch.

I couldn’t help take a photo of the beautiful alley way in Porto.  The colour of the buildings with light shining through was a piece of art…far from the alley ways of Belfast.

The locals regard themselves as being the economic heart of the nation.  As their saying goes, ‘Porto works, Braga Prays, Coimbra studies, & Lisbon gets the money.’

Well our next port of call was Braga.  After a previous visit the above statement I wouldn’t disagree with.  There must be a church on every street corner!

SC Braga Youth

My previous report details more about Braga & the club.  The focus for this report was an interesting meal we shared with one of the U13 Braga players.  Pedro is one of the few boys that lives away from his family & is based at the club.  Normally boys at this age group reside in Braga (or nearby, i.e. no more than 50 kms or 1 hour travel) & commute to training with parents.

Pedro, U13 Braga

A typical day for Pedro starts at 7.30am.  Wake up call, shower & breakfast.  The club will then send a car or club bus to take Pedro to school at 8am.  Lessons will start at 8.30am & continue through to lunch at 12pm.  Pedro will then head to a restaurant before returning to school at 1.30pm.

In Portugal they have extended lunches but school can finish later.  On this particular day lessons didn’t finish to 6.30pm.  He then travelled back for an evening training session with Braga U13′s at 7.45pm.  The session was shorter on the night we were there, it lasted one hour.  Pedro then showered, changed & head for a meal at 9pm.  Club officials would insure the young players are accompanied to restaurants.

Pedro arrived home to start homework at 10pm before bed time at 11pm.

I must stress that this schedule is variable.  Some day’s school finishes at 4pm & home work can be completed then.  On other days lessons will start later so Pedro can have a longer rest.

Personally I was surprised at the long days.  Pedro admitted on this particular day he was feeling tired but I was impressed at the same time how the club monitor their young players.

All players greet each other, coaches & visitors with a hand shake

Schedule

The club will always arrange transport for players that are away from home.  This includes too & from school, training & meals.  At meals they will always insure, especially the younger players that they eat with a club official or the U19′s.

Although Pedro lives away from his family & misses them he simply told us he adapts.  He lives in an apartment owned by the club with 3 other boys & looked after by a ‘Nanny’.  The adult will look after the boys.  Generally the boys will partner up & share a room each.  He will see his family generally every weekend.  If he has a game on the Saturday his father will come along to watch the game.  After the match Pedro will travel home with his father & return on Monday morning.

The club try to send all the children to the same school so they can adapt a schedule to suit their training sessions.  They eat together so that the club can control what they eat & when they eat.  The players will generally eat red meat on Monday & Tuesday, white meat on Wednesday & then pasta, etc. thereafter.  The nutritionist talks with the restaurant to adapt & suit the weekly programme.  The boys’ height & weight are recorded every month too.  The club also has 3 Doctors to attend to any sickness.

Players, at this level, will generally train 4 times per week.  The U19′s will train every day & also receive wages.  The accommodation, schooling, transport & food are all paid for by the club.

Braga has psychologists that work alongside the club.  If a coach knows he will be releasing a player the psychologist will work closely with that player but not obviously tell him right away.  The club will also try to find another club for the player.

Summary

The first thing that I picked up on from my first visit to this club was the family feel it had.  Everyone greeted each other with a welcome, smile & hand shake.  This is very positive & creates a real togetherness.  The set up is very impressive.  All sessions concentrated heavily on the technical side of the game.  This includes use of the ball along with pressurised drills & sessions.

Personally I was surprised at Pedro’s schedule when I was talking to him but I suppose we have to consider that this was possibly his busiest day.  Other days of the week had later starts, or earlier finishes or a non training night.  Although in some cases it is no difference from a child living in the UK that has to juggle schooling, homework, meals, transport & training.

The big difference I feel is the interest they take in each individual child.  The club record everything from school work to eating habits & from training to simply monitoring their height, weight & rest.  Also for the players living away from home.  The effort they put into for accommodation, transport & duty of care.  Then the long term development & future of the child is put as most importance with every last detail thought of – even if they unfortunately have to let a player go.

It was nice to sit & have a meal with one of the players at this age group.  It also, I suppose, shows how quick they mature as in Pedro’s words he simply ‘adapts’.  He obviously enjoys what he does even if he does miss being away from his family.  I found all the Braga Academy players to be confident young players that behaved & worked very hard in all sessions & games.

So in closing, here’s to Braga in becoming Europa League Champions 2011!

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!

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