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Coach Resources


At 7 Elite Academy, we believe in continuing education for our players and coaches. We invest heavily in coach education, which in turn benefits our players. These pages are dedicated to assisting our coaches become the best in the state at player development.


As a coach it’s vital that you understand and know your own motivations. It’s important to explore your opinions and beliefs about football and life in general. I’m not talking about your playing vision and style of football. I’m talking about your core values, the things that make you who you are. These are the anchors to which you remain true and will not compromise upon.

Do you have a personal vision? What are your values and the behaviours that you demonstrate? You might want to be an excellent coach who can improve players and performance. Your underpinning values might be ‘people first’, ‘no detail too small’, ‘teaching and learning’, ‘team first’, for example. The behaviours you live by may be ‘integrity’, ‘empathy’, ‘honesty’, ‘respect’, ‘hard work’, ‘commitment’ and ‘discipline’. Whatever they are for you, these values and behaviours should be clearly defined in your mind and set the framework by which people can recognize you as a person and coach.

The second step as a coach is to understand that not everyone sees the world through the same lens. You may have a common vision and set of values and behaviours but people are very different and act, learn, and process things in many different ways. Emotional intelligence is a key factor for any coach, and the ability to recognise and deal with different behaviour models and adapt your own behaviour accordingly is essential. You may be someone who likes being told something in a direct manner or someone who learns by seeing, but you must remember not everyone does. You can’t know your players until you know yourself, and you can’t place the players’ best interests first if you see everything based solely on your own perspective.

As a coach it’s likely you believe that you can teach and help players develop. If we are effective leaders then we must also look beyond the player’s time with us. We need to make sure that we do everything we can to help the player grow and be better for today, their time with us, and tomorrow, their time after us. We should be developing them for life inside and outside football, in essence educating them for football and life. Education isn’t exclusive to youth development and I am convinced players want to develop throughout their careers.

Placing the player at the centre and doing the best we can for them is a value that should benefit all parties. But where there is a conflict the default should be what is ‘best’ for the player. This is the continuous dilemma of the ‘player at the centre’ mantra and needs to be applied across the myriad of situations.

If we hold this as a truth then we need to start by thinking beyond their time with us and consider a number of elements that place them at the centre.

The Four Corners Model will be familiar to many. In this model, Technical, Tactical, Physical and Mental/Social Emotional occupy each corner. I believe these are key aspects but feel the social/emotional aspect should not occupy a corner but be the all-encompassing factor, the culture if you like. That to be player-centred, the player’s best interests must be put first and as such their emotional and social welfare is paramount and the starting point.

If we have a clear vision, values and set of expected behaviours, then the day-to-day culture is a teacher itself. This culture should help create the environment where people feel safe, valued, cared for and respected and are able to demonstrate these values when interacting with others. The junior and youth player should be focusing on football and maintaining their education, but there is nothing stopping the senior player taking a course of study and expanding their horizons. Needless to say it would have to be built around their commitments and be flexible enough to withstand the movement that comes with a career in football.

Additional training and education across a range of disciplines can also grow the player, health and wellbeing, guidance on career planning financial management, diet, nutrition, gambling and addiction, planning and goal setting and of course a coaching career. The list is endless and many professional clubs already embrace this.

The technical, tactical, physical and mental elements are distinguishable but not separable from a football perspective and can all be developed on the pitch in the football context. The pace of football demands that players use unconscious thinking, to be able to recognize the nuances and act without conscious thought. To evolve to this level demands a massive amount of exposure to the game. The training methodology should expose the players to this as much as possible and be developed through an age-specific, periodized programme. This should be based on the individual capacity of each player and their specific talents. The aim is to take the assets the player has and make these great while strengthening areas of weakness. An individual plan should be developed where as a starting point the player’s ability to read the game, perceive the situation, make the right decision and execute the correct action are developed systematically.

The focus for the young player should be on mastering the core skills and deploying these in co-operation with teammates to overcome an opponent to score and prevent goals. As the players age, the programme should evolve so they can use their skill in the tactical context. This should be built around and the key principles of a style of play. The mental and physical attributes should be developed with an age-related focus using the natural windows of development. Much of this can be achieved in the football context by playing football.

What about isolated training? I’m sure we all kicked a ball at a wall for hours and hours and other things to hone our technique, but we also played in games, formal and informal, for hours and hours and it is this that develops skill, game related physical attributes and mental skills. Technical, mental and physical training can of course be developed independently to prepare and develop a myriad of competencies that can help with injury prevention, movement efficiency, agility, concentration and emotion control. Again this must be governed by the needs of the player and in relation to their age both biological and chronological.

Where time is rich, then a programme of development away from the pitch can be encompassed. But this should be managed carefully so as not to impinge on the player’s schooling and social time. However, where time is limited, then retaining the context to the game is key and developing them with the game resistances present is something that shouldn’t be given away readily.


Stuart Dewey

Technical Director

Crystal Solderquist

Technical Co-Ordinator


Jean Claude Gay

Call: +385 298 5499

Matthew Ellinger

Head of Coaching

Matt Brown

Head of Pre-Academy