Your Team Philosophy

It's worth having a clear idea what it is you want the children you’re coaching, their parents and the coaches (including you) to get out of being involved in your team and making sure all those people understand the goals you have for the team and players during the season. i.e.: what is your philosophy?
 
If you can set out near the beginning what you’re trying to achieve, expectations are far easier to manage further down the line. It doesn’t have to be complicated - in fact it should be very simple.
 
Some things to consider in terms of "your philosophy":
 
  • Do you want everyone to get roughly equal playing time?
  • Do you rotate your players through all the positions so all the players get to improve as all round players? (relevant to the younger age groups particularly)
  • How do you want to behave? To each other, referees, opposition… do the players and parents understand what’s expected of them?
  • How important is winning to you? How do you get a good balance with player development?
  • Do you want to be coaching from the sidelines during games or do you encourage the players to think for themselves and learn by experimenting and making mistakes that you can address afterwards or in training?
  • How do you want your team to play? When they have the ball... when they don't have the ball...

For example, at U8 you may approach the season with your sole aim being that every player on the team has improved by the end of the year and that they have all had fun. That’s a great philosophy to start with and your overall play as a team should naturally improve if your players improve and are enjoying themselves, so it should tick a lot of boxes. But if your assistant coach and parent of the star player thinks it’s all about winning matches at all costs and thinks the same 5 players should stay on the pitch for the majority of each match, then you have very different philosophies and are going to run into problems.

As your players get older, your philosophy may additionally incorporate more aspects of your go-to chosen style of play - ie: we are primarily a possession team, or we are a counter attacking team, when we don't have the ball we drop deep and are hard to break down or we press high and win the ball in the opposition's final third etc. etc... you will probably also look at a lot more position-specific training in the older age groups once players have gravitated toward certain roles more.
 

Is there a Langton Green "Club Philosophy"?
Do we have a "club philosophy"? Yes, but we also encourage you to build on that. Everyone is different and every team is different.

At Langton Green our firm belief is that your approach in the younger age groups should take the form of encouraging player development as a priority, with a focus on making sure the players are having fun and learning. All players should get a decent amount of playing time in different positions, teams should try not to be over-reliant on one or two individuals and the obvious attributes of sportsmanship, teamwork and respect should be encouraged at all times, with parents and coaches expected to reinforce those attributes.

A lot of that also applies in the older age groups, but as football becomes competitive and streaming of the players based on ability comes into force, there are quite probably going to be some aspects of your philosophy that change in line with that, particularly for the teams playing at the higher levels. At all age groups, the number one priority should be that it’s enjoyable for the players and the coaches. If that ceases to be the case, then something isn’t right.
 
Your philosophy doesn’t have to stay the same and it will almost certainly change over the years as you and your team develop.
 
 
Your attitude as a coach filters down to your players…
Take a look at the teams you’ve played against who don't behave particularly well. I guarantee you either the parents or coaches (or both) are leading the way in terms of the behaviour of the players. Your most important role as a coach is to be a role model to the players on your team and to ensure the parents are the same. It is something as a club that we pride ourselves on. Children mimic the behaviour of adults and their peers. If you are shouting, screaming and criticising your players or your parents are berating the ref constantly, the kids will do the same. Not great for morale, team spirit or ultimately, results.
 
 
The work you put in as a coach will reap rewards…
It’s very easy for adults to blame the kids they coach when things don’t go well on the pitch but ultimately, unless you are phenomenally lucky and happen upon a group of players who are outstanding footballers already (highly unlikely at age 7!), the majority of the long term success your team has will be down to the quality and effectiveness of the coaching they receive and the effort and time the players and the coaches put in. Proper training session planning, taking the time to do some of the available FA courses, working hard on the development of all your players and encouraging your team in a positive way will make an enormous difference.
 
Check out the information we've included about planning your training sessions, how children learn, getting the players thinking and working to a long term plan to see some ways in which you might help develop your team within your philosophy.