Getting The Best Out of Foundation Age Players

Young players starting their footballing journey can at times, be difficult to coach. This post addresses how to maximise the effectiveness of coaching these type of players and get them ready for life in the footballing world.   

 What does foundation age mean? 

The basic definition of foundation age is any child aged between 2-6. However, when relating this to football this can be defined as any player who is in the early stages of playing football where their knowledge and understanding of the sport is somewhat limited. Within this stage it is imperative that coaches can help them to both learn and understand the fundamentals of football.

What Strategies can be Implemented 

For players within the foundation stage of their development, one of the biggest barriers to their development can be their ability to concentrate while attempting to complete drills. Therefore, it is important that there is a balance between both fun and technical development. Drills such as races and football obstacle courses work on the ‘ABCs’, the ‘ABCs’ are shorthand for Agility, Balance, Coordination and Speed. For a young player, these skills are extremely important for early development as the earlier these skills are developed, the quicker the player can progress to more complex areas of technical development.

Another of barrier that a coach could face would be players limited understanding of technical terms. Therefore, it is important that coaches address coaching points in a different way to those players who are at a level above those at the development stage. Breaking down and giving explanations of simple movements such as the correct way to move the ball can help the player to pick up the coaching point a lot quicker. In addition to breaking down the coaching points young players respond better to high energy levels. For a lot of young children, a coach’s energy levels are important as children tend to match the energy of the people around them, therefore it is important that a coach is both confident and loud when coaching as this will then be reciprocated by the child.

How Do JCR Implement These Strategies?

For us our first priority is to ensure that players start developing as early as possible. this is why we offer 1-2-1 coaching sessions from as early as 4 years old; this is so our players will be ready to join a team when they turn 6 years old. This allows for two years of development before they play competitively, within this time period, we aim to give those players the best understanding of the fundamentals of football. We do this through the use of games and fun activities centred around a specific topic relating to the fundamentals of football. All our coaches arrive to sessions with high energy levels and understand that all children learn in different ways and are able to adapt to suit the required needs of a specific individual to ensure that their development is as effective as possible.


As mentioned in the book ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. This is why it is so important to start a player’s development as early as possible to give them the best chance of reaching their maximum potential while still at a young age. The main points to remember when coaching players at the beginning of their footballing journey are:

  • Fun: Ensure that all drills are as interactive and engaging as possible
  • Energy: Children will match your energy to remain energetic the whole way through the session
  • Communication: convey coaching points in a way that will help them to understand what is asked but also develop their limited understanding

If you have a child who is at the foundation stage of their development, our coaches have both the ability and patience to bring the best out of your child and get them ready and ahead of the cohort when they start to play football competitively.

Want to Join The Squad?

If you would like to join the JCR Sports Coaching squad, we’re waiting for you! To get in touch with us regarding your coaching requirements, please do not hesitate to use any of the methods provided through the website to reach out.