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Player Development Model

The Ontario Soccer Player Development Model is recommended for training grassroots players from the ages of U6-U12. The model allows for players to train in larger groups which help build a child's social network. 

When using the Player Development Model, players will travel in a group throughout the session from and activity to a game back to a activity.

Using the station approach we are able to cater the session to the individual needs of the player, which keeps the children engaged and motivated. With this method players will work at a station for a predetermined amount of time, travel to the next station while having a drink and be ready for the next station to start.

When dealing with large groups of players, multiple stations will be running at the same time. When this is the case all stations will start together and all stations will break together, creating a FUN and enjoyable environment for both players and coaches.

Stations can be created for any kind of activity ranging from physical literacy, individual ball work, passing and receiving all the way through to shooting or goalkeeping. For the game stations, coaches can get creative and have a regular 3 v 3 game, 4 goal soccer, end zone games or possession based games, basically any kind of game which places players against an opponent with a target as the goal.

Q. If I only have 8-10 players can I still use this model?

A. Yes of course! Below is a diagram of how it could work using just a 30m x 30m area.

With the above situation the coach can set up their 30m x 30m area for the first activity which involves individual ball work. The players work for nine minutes and then go grab a one minute drink. While the players are having their drinks one goal can be placed in each corner to set up the 4 goal game. (This could also be done prior). The children then play for nine minutes, take a one minute break and come back for activity #3 which could be 1 v 1 to a target ball. Nothing has to change with your set up, which enables you to create a good flow to your session with very little down allowing players to stay focused and motivated. For the final station all that needs to happen is to have one goal placed at each end of the field, add your retreat line and you are ready to go with a small sided game.

With the above outlined model the players have now trained for 40 minutes, had lots of fun, and the session is over.

Q. What if we have 32 players in our player pool?

A. The Player Development Model works great for "player pools."

In the example below we can see four stations set up. Two activity stations and two game stations. Groups of 8-10 players are placed into each station. The groups will start to work at the same time and work for nine minutes (u11-u12 players, reduce the time if players are younger). After nine minutes the players will move clockwise to the next station were they get to train with a different coach. Each coach stays at one station for the entire practice. Once players have rotated through all four stations the session will be complete. In this scenario all players have had the opportunity to work with four different coaches were their learning will be greater impacted. The four coaches now have also had the opportunity to work with all players, rather than just one group.

Q. Can large recreational groups of players also use this model? 

A. This is where the Player Development Model has a great positive impact on the players, the coaches as well as organisations.

Typically a recreational age group may have approximately 100 children in total. In the past these 8-10 teams have all trained separately on one field each (If available) which has led to groups being without a training location.

With this model below you have the potential to have 100 children training together in one location with all coaches working together. Players will rotate as above in the first two examples, again with all players getting to be impacted by all coaches.

Clubs would have the Technical Director, Club Head Coach or age group mentor coach create the training activities for the coaches. Each coach would only be responsible for one station at each practice. Now the pressure is off the volunteers to plan a full 60 minute session which we hope will attract more volunteers as well as retain more coaches in the game.

When working with 10 stations below, as you can see the activities and games are all arranged with different sized areas. It's just like a jigsaw puzzle were we use every inch of space that we have available.

What are the benefits to the players?

  • Lots of variety
  • Opportunity to meet new friends
  • Work with different coaches
  • Lots of activity
  • Very little down time
  • Get to play the game while learning
  • Are able to express themselves
  • Creates an environment where they can fall in love with soccer
  • Caters to their various attention span's
  • Great learning environment
  • Access to the best available coaching at the club
  • Lots of Fun

What are the benefits to the Coaches?

  • Great support network from other coaches
  • Sessions provide by Technical Director, Club Head Coach or age group mentor coach
  • Get to work with a multitude of different players each session
  • Less pressure
  • Opportunity to learn from others
  • Opportunity to be mentored from more experienced/qualified coaches
  • Opportunity to help develop more children
  • Fun environment to coach in

Watch the Player Development Model in action