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Larkhall Athletic Youth is committed to creating the best coaching programme for our club we can, and we believe we’ve got everything in place to be the best and most competitive club in our region in every age group from U5’s to U18s.  We have therefore recreated this ‘essentials’ document to outline some core ideas we are calling ‘the Larkhall Way’ as we believe these will help improve our competitiveness and knowledge as a club, and help us to raise our abilities as youth development coaches.  We want to also build on this together with ideas and insights that will help us create a wider fund of knowledge that will become an invaluable coaching resource for years to come.



Coming up with innovative and new training ideas relies on good discipline and commitment of our FA Qualified Coaches. Below is the values we ask as part of the Larkhall Way:

  • Create a structured plan for each session, each week.

  • Make each week build on the previous week.

  • Make the session’s fun.

  • Practice motivational psychology – i.e. praise ‘effort’ not ‘ability’.

  • Create a disciplined approach to your sessions so the youngsters know exactly what to expect from you and your team of coaches.

  • If possible – give them some ‘homework’ e.g. practice a turn or a technique you’ve just introduced.  Then start the following week with that - after the warm up match (below).


The children need to have as much fun as possible whilst touching the football as many times as possible, so introduce fun games.  The only coaching necessary would be the technical abilities of kicking and controlling the ball – and that is it.  Key topics are:

  • Kicking Techniques

  • Ball control with feet

  • Fun games and dribbling with ball

  • Try to improve agility, balance and co-ordination as 95% of neural pathways are developed by age 11



The ages 10-14 are the most important time of a football player’s development.  So from age 10-12, it is important to introduce small sided games i.e. 3v3 or 4v4, as this accelerates the development of technical ability and game intelligence.  Key topics are:

  • Decision making

  • How to mark properly – touch tight etc. 

  • Dribbling and running with the ball

  • Finishing/shooting – where and how to shoot

  • Passing and moving

  • Small sided games

  • Control with other parts of body (thigh, chest, volley control)

  • Heading

  • Keep ups to improve control of ball

  • Basic understanding of formations

  • Flexibility

  • Volleying

  • Communication


​To continue the important 10-14 learning phase physical, mentally and tactically we add the following aspects:

  • Fitness

  • Speed and agility

  • Core stability

  • Defending as a unit from the front

  • Set Piece plans - basic to in-depth

  • In depth understanding of formations

  • Phases of play, going from defence to attack and attack to defence

  • How to counter attack



Listed below for each position in the expectation for each player and their aspiration to develop towards as part the Larkhall Way.


  • Keep the ball when in possession

  • Be an options to players on the ball 

  • Give information to players 

Full Back

  • Takes all throw ins

  • Plays narrow to protect centre backs when defending

  • Plays wide to support when attacking

  • Stop crosses and shots

Centre Backs

  • One marks one covers

  • One calls the line

  • Use keeper when in trouble 

  • Switch play when possible

  • Stay central

  • Stop shots

  • Striker doesn’t turn

  • Drop and create angles when in possession

Holding midfielder

  • Protect back four

  • Stop ball getting to back 4 when out of possession

  • Dictate the play in possession, keep possession

2 centre midfielders

  • One must support striker when attacking

  • One must support holding midfielder when defending

  • Get behind the ball when defending

  • Create chances, score goals, stop their midfielders assisting and scoring

  • 1 must be an option for throw ins

  • Make runs beyond striker

2 Wingers

  • Get crosses in

  • Try and beat full back with 1-2’s or dribbling

  • Use full backs and centre midfielders for support

  • Be an options for throw ins on your side

  • Get into penalty area when team attacking other side in final third

  • Win ball back from defenders


  • Stay high and narrow to create space for team mates

  • Don’t get involved in throw ins

  • Be hard to mark

  • Create space to score

  • Mix up ball to feet and over the top

  • Press centre backs and stop ball going into midfield and other centre back

Team Play

  • Try and win ball back in final third

  • Be compact and behind the ball when ball in our half

  • Arrive to receive from throw ins

  • Work Hard

  • Win your 1v1 battles

  • Be aggressive in your defending

  • Be ruthless in front of goal

  • Be exciting, risk tasking, successful (impossible but important to remember)

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