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Mark Edwards. U.E.F.A. ‘A’ Licence holder 1994 Level 2 Coach Educator Manchester United Academy Coach 1995 – 2007 Manchester City Academy Coach 2007 - Present. WHAT IS A PREMIER LEAGUE ACADEMY?. What is a Premier League Academy?.

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mark edwards
Mark Edwards

U.E.F.A. ‘A’ Licence holder 1994

Level 2 Coach Educator

Manchester United Academy Coach

1995 – 2007

Manchester City Academy Coach

2007 - Present

what is a premier league academy

WHAT IS A PREMIER LEAGUE ACADEMY?

What is a Premier League Academy?

slide3
‘The country’s highest ranking youth development system scheme

for aspiring male footballers’

Source : www.premierleague.com

slide4
‘Schemes are designed to

develop the best available

talented youngsters to

enable them to reach their

full potential’

Source www.premierleague.com

slide5
The Premier League’s ideal

was to provide a stress free environment in which the young players could learn.

slide6
Unfortunately it soon

became apparent that this

ideal was forgotten whenever

Manchester United played other academies.

slide7
Winning became the main priority for all our opponents.

Our young players were exposed to this environment every week.

slide8
Our young players were experiencing the same style of matches every week.

These matches did not allow them to develop and practice new things.

slide9
‘ It’s not about winning matches,

it’s about how we win the matches, that is what is important’

Source: Jim Ryan

Director of Football

Manchester United F.C

slide10
We as an academy took the decision that whilst the players needed to understand the need to win matches, the results would become secondary to performances.
slide11
How where we to implement this new philosophy ?

Our young teams had to play

‘The Manchester United way’

Source: Sir Alex Ferguson

Manager Manchester United F.C.

question
QUESTION?

Do you base your coaching on a syllabus ?

OR

Do you react to the performance

Of your team?

slide14
The culture in youth football is to react to situations and move on to the next.

Academy youth football is about development; not results.

Reacting to performances should be left until results are important i.e. professional teams.

slide15
These thoughts were collated

during a series of meetings with

one specific aim.

This aim was to create a syllabus

for the whole academy.

slide16
It was decided to break the academy

players down into specific

age bands.

Under 8 – Under 11

Under 12 – Under 14

Under 15 – Under 16

slide17
The coaches at these specific

age groups created that

part of the syllabus

using their expertise

at that age group.

slide18
The coaches at each age group

developed a syllabus to include the

following contents:

Technical

Tactical

Physical

Social

how were we to implement the syllabus
HOW WERE WE TO IMPLEMENTTHE SYLLABUS?

The consensus of opinion was that the academy should become a

Place of learning.

slide20
Therefore the academy should be based on the education system used

Successfully

In England for numerous years.

slide21
We decided that in order to

create the best learning environment that

blocks of work would be introduced

the rationale
THE RATIONALE

A math tutor for example, would not have the class learning algebra one lesson,

percentages the next lesson and

fractions the next.

He would work to a block of work.

slide23
It was decided that the syllabus for the younger players would be based solely upon small sided games.

As such the club developed a pilot

4 v 4 programme.

rationale
RATIONALE

Games programme is adaptable and can cater for up to 68 players plus goalkeepers if available.

Players divided into teams of 4 and play on a rotational basis in 4 different games.

rationale1
RATIONALE

If a team has more than 4 players the subs will come on during the game on a rotational basis.

Each game will last for 8 minutes.

No scores.

No referees required.

rationale2
RATIONALE

Each boy will play a minimum of 6 games to optimise playing time.

2 minute break between games.

Coaches there to monitor and supervise.

Minimum coaching / Gentle encouragement

slide27
This pilot programme was presented to the F.A. Premier League on April 9th 2002 and was duly sanctioned but only if agreed to by other clubs.
slide28
Unfortunately other clubs were not keen on the idea and initially we were limited to the number of games we could play.

First game versus Blackpool F.C.

July 17th, 2002

slide29
Each age group at the academy could contain up to 20 players.

This would result in 11 players playing in the game and up to 9 players not playing or having limited playing time.

slide30
Given that the best way to learn

Is to be involved and playing the game,

players were missing valuable learning time every week.

Time that they could not afford to miss!

aims of the 4 v 4 scheme
AIMS OF THE 4 V 4 SCHEME.

‘Games based on 4 v 4 whilst using various simple conditions to create optimal learning and playing environment where players have maximum ball content’

SOURCE : MANCHESTER UNITED 4 V 4 BOOKLET

goalkeepers game
GOALKEEPERS GAME

Area 35m x 25m

Junior goals 2m x 6m

4 v 4 with 2 goalkeepers

Normal throw ins and corner kicks

If no goalkeepers available players will alternately be the goalkeeper

two goal game
TWO GOAL GAME

Area 30 m x 25m

4 v 4 with poles as goals

Corners taken

No goalkeepers

Ball dribbled back into play

four goal game
FOUR GOAL GAME

Area 25m x 25m

4 v 4 game with 8 markers as four small goals

No goalkeepers

Ball dribbles back into play

line ball
LINE BALL

Area 25m x 20m

4 v 4 using end line as goals

No goalkeepers

Ball dribbled back into play

all eight games can fit onto one full size field
All Eight Games Can Fit Onto One Full Size Field

4v4 Line Game

25x20

4v4 Four Goal Game

25x25

5v5 GK Game

35x25

4v4 Two Goal Game

30x25

5v5 GK Game

35x25

4v4 Four Goal Game

25x25

4v4 Line Game

25x20

4v4 Two Goal Game

30x25

slide37
Obviously the impact of this programme

Could not be gauged immediately.

We would have to be patient and wait to see if we had made the correct decision.

5 years later
5 YEARS LATER.

The young players that first experienced the 4 v 4 scheme are now playing for the clubs under 13 academy team.

Was the scheme a success?

slide39
The club is extremely pleased with

the development of these players

and the impact that the 4 v 4 scheme

has had upon their development.

slide40
We found that initially the pressure of playing academy football was removed almost instantly.

The players played with a new found freedom and enjoyment.

Players had far more possession of the football and so had more chances to develop their techniques.

slide41
Players were encouraged to express themselves far more, without the fear of making mistakes.

Fitness levels of players improved.

Decision making of the players improved.

slide42
This format was introduced to the training sessions as well as the games programme.

As the season progressed more and more teams bought into the idea and so games became more frequent.

slide43
A similar programme has now been introduced by the football association

And the format is now used in the football association coach education programme.

slide44
The following thoughts were developed by the coaches responsible for the

under 15 – under 16 age groups.

slide45
We decided that our blocks of work would be in the following order.

Defending

Counter attacking

Possession

Finishing

slide46
You might debate that defending before possession is in the wrong order but that is for you as coaches to decide.
slide47
We decided that in order to play football effectively you needed to be in possession of the ball.

Sounds simple.

how did we win the ball back
How Did We Win The Ball Back?

Both as a team and also as individuals?

Did the players know?

More importantly did they understand?

how did we use the ball when we regained possession
How Did We Use the Ball When We Regained Possession?

Did we see the chance to break?

Did we dominate the 2 v 1 situation?

Did we sometimes leave ourselves vulnerable through poor decision making?

slide50
If we did not break…

Were we comfortable in possession?

Could we keep the ball for a purpose?

Were we patient?

slide51
When we did break…

Did we maximise our opportunities?

If not why not?

slide52
We now had to use existing or develop new coaching sessions that enabled the players to develop their skills and understanding in these situations.
field session
Field Session

Demonstration of session used in the Manchester United Academy.

Transition when regaining possession.