Let The Players Play
A guide for grassroots coaches to coaching in small sided games by Larry Mahony.
This comprehensive guide shows how to develop a young player’s football intelligence by coaching in-game during practice sessions. It is not concerned with specific soccer techniques, but with the learning of team skill. Starting with the smallest unit – two outfield players – it focuses exclusively on how young players relate to and communicate with each other to become a team. While patience is key as children mature, this book demonstrates that – by concentrating on fun, small-sided games – we can eventually teach them that playing in position can be a liberating experience.
Promoting a coaching philosophy of guided discovery, it outlines their journey from enjoying an individual, dribbling–based game to a more structured, team-oriented passing and dribbling style. Much like players are often said to be in the right place at the right time, this guide will help coaches to ask relevant questions at the appropriate moment. It crucially helps coaches to provide the answers too, and ultimately give the players the ability to make decisions and find solutions for themselves.
This guide promises to help grassroots coaches deliver the most difficult and most important part of any coaching curriculum: coaching in the game. Many coaches are good at running drills, but very few can provide timely and accurate instruction for players on how to actually play the game, in the game. Now they can find out what to teach, the order in which to teach it and vitally, how to communicate this information to young players. It’s the result of many years of trial and error and is – we believe – the first book to attempt to help coaches in this way, with this level of detail.
He has a gift for simplifying what might be complex concepts and this, in a nutshell, is what this book is all about.
He gives grassroots coaches a sensible, uncomplicated pathway for teaching young players in small-sided games, which will allow the players to unlock their potential to play skilfully, intelligently and competitively
Stephen Kenny – Ireland Senior Mens Coach
His enthusiasm for this work, coupled with his ability to communicate with youngsters on their level, marks him out as an outstanding children’s coach. His range of experience and his common-sense approach leaves him perfectly placed to produce a guide, such as this, for grassroots coaches.
I would heartily recommend ‘Let The Players Play’ to all those interested in properly teaching the game to young players.
Shane Robinson Academy Director SRFC
Áine O’Gorman – Peamount United and Irish International