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SCP 2012 Presentation - FFA National Curriculum


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FFA National Curriculum: A review of current practice, the underpinning literature and the implications for coaches

This presentation is intended to provide a general insight into the current Football Federation Australia national curriculum for players and coaches. Underpinning literature and theories will be reviewed to explore the rationale behind the principles within the national curriculum. Suggestions and recommendations will be made in regards to coaching implications.

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SCP 2012 Presentation - FFA National Curriculum

  1. 1. A review of current practice, the underpinning literature and the implications for coachesBy Aidan Brown for Sports Coaching Pedagogy 2012
  2. 2. OverviewThis presentation is intended to provide a general insight into the current Football Federation Australia national curriculum for players and coaches. Underpinning literature and theories will be reviewed to explore the rationale behind the principles within the national curriculum. Suggestions and recommendations will be made in regards to coaching implications.
  3. 3. Creation of the National Curriculum National Football Development Plan (2007)[1] • Prior lack of ‘investment’ in this area. • ‘At the heart of FFA strategic direction’ [1, 2] Talent Development and Identification Review [1] • Deficiency in technical and game related skills. • Strength: Physical and mental competitiveness - Over-emphasis on winning attributed to deficiencies. • Creation of a National Curriculum to ‘close the gap’.1 (Football Federation Australia ,2007)2 (Football Federation Australia, 2011)
  4. 4. Purpose• Provide a consistent, coordinated national Talent Development and Identification Program for football in Australia, aiming to achieve major quality and performance improvements in Australia’s top players, coaches and teams.(Football Federation Australia ,2009a)
  5. 5. National Curriculum Philosophy “Leave the total football structure as much as possible intact so its relationship to the game is always recognisable for players in all training situations and exercises.”(Football Federation Australia ,2009a)
  6. 6. Total Football Structure • Total Football Structure The Main Moments of the game are: 1. Ball possession (BP): Building up, attacking and scoring (team tasks). 2. Transition: BP to BPO (team tasks). 3. Ball possession opponent (BPO): Disturbing and defending (team tasks). 4. Transition: BPO to BP (team tasks). Thus the philosophy holds that any training exercise should where possible incorporate these 4 components.(Football Federation Australia ,2009a)
  7. 7. Key Principles ‘Guiding’ the National Curriculum 1&2. Reviewing youth development systems in strong football nations and tapering these to suit Australian circumstances 3. Building on the pre-existing strengths of Australian sport and football culture (physical and mental competitiveness) 4. Taking evidence based rational facts into consideration (literature) 5. The ‘total football’ approach: • Age-related development goals • Game-related training as major focus • Tactics and conditioning secondary to technique(Football Federation Australia ,2009a)
  8. 8. Technical Component SummaryFootball Federation Australia. (2009b) The National Football Curriculum: The Building Blocks
  9. 9. Supporting LiteratureNational Curriculum• The sport development continuum = progression from a broad base of foundation participation (grassroots level) tapering off up to elite competition (national teams) (Bailey, Collins, Ford, MacNamara, Toms and Pearce, 2010)• Bailey et al (2010) suggest that one flaw of the pyramid model is that the quality of performers at the higher level, is dependent on the quality of experiences and resources provided at the lower level.• Introducing a framework for development (the national curriculum) aims to achieve high quality elite performance, by providing a high quality, consistent structure of development from the ‘discovery phase’ all the way through to the ‘performance phase’.
  10. 10. Supporting LiteratureLong Term Athlete Development (LTAD) Model• The LTAD model by Balyi & Hamilton (2004) suggests that ‘a specific and well-planned practice, training, competition and recovery regime will ensure optimum development through an athlete’s career.’• 6 stages/phases of progression1. FUNdamental stage2. Learning to Train3. Training to Train4. Training to Compete5. Training to Win6. Retirement / retainment
  11. 11. Supporting LiteratureLong Term Athlete Development (LTAD) Model• Age-related development goals and phases for football development offer a ‘football fitted’ version of Balyi & Hamilton’s (2004) Long Term Athlete Development Model.• The Football Association of England has also adapted a ‘football fitted’ variation of the LTAD model in its Long Term Player Development model (The Football Association, 2011).• Balyi & Hamilton (2004) warn against using chronological age as a basis for athlete development models. The national curriculum suggests coaches use their own knowledge to determine situational appropriateness of age related goals.
  12. 12. Supporting LiteratureSport-specific training and conditioning• A major point made throughout the national curriculum is the requirement to keep the ‘total football’ structure recognisable during training. This is underpinned by the basic training principle of specificity (Baechle & Earle, 2009).• As a general rule, it is said that a minimum of 10 years or 10,000 hours of sport specific practice is required for the development of expertise in team sports (Baker & Cote, 2003)• With more sport-specific practice, players can develop tactical skills, which are shown to be related to improved performance ( Kannekens, Eflerink- Gemser & Visscher, 2009).
  13. 13. Supporting LiteratureSport specific training and conditioning continued• A large focus has been put on small sided games.• Variations of the traditional 11 v 11 game – 4 v 4, 7 v 7 etc.• The FFA (2009a) suggests that small sided games provide maximum exposure and an increased transfer of functional game skills.• Small sided games enable participants to be more involved in the play – gaining more ‘touches’ on the ball and making more passes (Small, 2006)• Small sided games have also been identified and as a valuable tool for football-specific conditioning and advised over isolated conditioning training (Reilly, 2005; Katis & Kellis, 2009)
  14. 14. Coaching Implications• Essentially the introduction of a national curriculum for football development should make a coaches job easier. The curriculum provides a consistent and clear direction for coaches of players in all levels of the sport. As part of the national curriculum, the FFA provides a number of resources for coaching and information on further coaching development. The hardest part may be to get coaches out of old habits.
  15. 15. Coaching Implications• Under the ‘Total Football Structure’ it is essential that coaches have the ability to dissect the major components of football play in order to train specific skills and competencies, yet still keep the overall product relevant and recognisable.• This is a skill that the Dutch are famous for, and it is no surprise therefore that there is currently a heavy Dutch presence in crucial development roles in Australia.
  16. 16. Coaching Implications• Understanding - One of the most important implications for coaches is to understand the rationale behind the national curriculum in order to appreciate the bigger picture that is football development. The Australian culture of physical and mental competitiveness is a strength, and coaches must ensure it doesn’t continue also as a weakness. It’s important that this understanding is transferred to the players so that they understand the purpose of their training and overall development. It may also help to retain these players in the later stages of LTAD.
  17. 17. Coaching Recommendations• Over-emphasis on winning and old habits - Coaches should focus on real technical education and development rather than a culture based on results. - The FFA (2009a) suggests coaches should: Encourage the skilful over of the powerful Think of mistakes being learning moments instead of being punished Encourage individual creativity instead of forbidding individual play Encouraging taking risks over forbidding taking risks Train to ‘play out’ from defense purposefully rather than panicked clearances
  18. 18. Coaching Recommendations• LTAD and Age-related development goals - Coaches require the ability to determine the development characteristics of their athletes in order to establish the most appropriate development training goals and objectives. Utilise knowledge base of physiotherapists and psychologists where available.• Preserving the ‘total football’ structure (sport-specific training) - In training particular skills, coaches should always start with the idea of an actual game situation and then simplify/modify the game situation in a manner that emphasizes and creates maximum opportunities to practice the skills.
  19. 19. ReferencesBaker, J., Cote, J. (2003) Sport-specific practice and the development of expert decision- making in team ball sports. Journal of Applied Sports Psychology, 15, 12-25.Baechle, T., Earle, R. (2009) Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (3rd ed). Illinois: Human Kinetics.Bailey, R., Collins, D., Ford, P., MacNamara, A., Toms, M., and Pearce, G. (2010) Participant Development in Sport: An Academic Review. Retrieved from 20Review.pdfBalyi, I. and Hamilton, A. (2004). ‘Long-Term Athlete Development: Trainability in Childhood and Adolescence. Windows of Opportunity. Optimal Trainability’, Victoria: National Coaching Institute British Columbia and Advanced Training and Performance Ltd.Football Federation Australia. (2007). National Football Development Plan. Retrieved from
  20. 20. ReferencesFootball Federation Australia .(2009a). FFA National Curriculum. Retrieved from Federation Australia. (2009b) The National Football Curriculum: The Building Blocks. Retrieved from Federation Australia. (2011). Football in Australia Strategic Plan Snapshot 2011-2015. Retrieved from, R., Elferink-Gemser, M., Visscher, C. (2009) Tactical skills of world-class youth soccer teams. Journal of Sports Sciences, 27(8), 807-12. DOI:10.1080/02640410902894339Katis, A., Kellis, E. (2009) Effects of small-sided games on physical conditioning and performance in young soccer players. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 8, 374-380.
  21. 21. ReferencesReilly, T. (2005). An ergonomics model of the soccer training process. Journal of sports Sciences, 23(6), 561-72.Small, G. (2006). Small-sided Games Study of Young Football Players in Scotland. University of Aberdeen. Retrieved from F/Get%20into%20Football/FA_Learning_YouthModule2/Small- sided%20games%20study%20of%20young%20football%20players.ashx/Small- sided%20games%20study%20of%20young%20football%20players.pdfThe Football Association (2011). Long Term Player Development. Retrieved from