FA Youth Award

The FA Youth Award program is tightly targeted towards coaching young players and seeks to prepare coaches by taking a holistic approach to youth development and progress both on and off the pitch. Key to this philosophy is sensitising coaches to the needs of individual players at different developmental levels within specific age groups and helping them move away from a more restrictive "one size fits all" coaching methodology.

Coaches are taught how to assess each player on various developmental criteria including social, psychological, physical and technical capacity and once these levels are understood, specific needs can be isolated and coaching sessions tailored to the individual. Although it may seem a little obvious to say that coaching should start with looking at the player, particularly when the player is a child, this has not always been the case in youth coaching and experienced coaches note significant improvements in teams as a whole when using the player specific approach developed for the Youth Award.

FA Youth Award courses are run through local county football associations and FA Learning and are sub divided into three Modules that are both topic and age specific. To start their progression through the Youth Award, candidates must hold the Level 1 QCF or be a qualified teacher who has attended the FA Introduction into Age Appropriate Coaching Course.

Module 1 - Developing the Environment

This initial course is generally run over 29–32 hours, is non assessed and focuses on developing players by creating and maintaining the optimum coaching and playing environment in the 5-11 age group. Specific topics covered include:

  • Assessment of players and understanding how they learn to maximize coaching support
  • Managing the self esteem and motivation of players in an appropriate and constructive manner
  • Creating a positive, supportive environment to help players develop by minimizing fear of weaknesses
  • Practical, game related coaching drills and techniques to develop technical and tactical skills and improve decision making ability

Module 2 - Developing the Practise

Building on the solid foundation gained in Module 1, the second module is usually also run over approximately 29-32 hours but focuses more on the practical side of youth coaching and the development of age, maturity, experience and ability appropriate coaching practices. Practical involvement features heavily in this course and candidates are encouraged to evaluate the demonstrated techniques and use them to plan, deliver and analyse their own coaching practices. Module 2 also extends the age specific focus to the 5-16 age group and is suited to club coaches looking to broaden their youth coaching skills. Specific topics covered include:

  • Demonstration of a wide range of youth orientated practices
  • Analysis of factors relating to choice of practice
  • Evaluation of effectiveness and progress made through practises
  • Development of observation skills for player assessment
  • Interpretation of key youth developmental factors such as age, maturity, ability and experience and their impact on coaching
  • Dealing with talented players for maximum development

Module 3 - Developing the Player

At the time of writing, the final module is only available directly through FA Learning and is targeted at coaches who have a genuine and ongoing involvement in the elite levels of the youth game. Module 3 is generally run as a four day residential course with pre course reading assignments and candidates are expected to arrive with identified team and personal developmental needs. After completing this module, there is the opportunity to undergo assessment at a later date and coaches are required to bring their own players to the practical assessments held at various region centres. This high level and far reaching course seeks to build upon already well established coaching skills and practices and covers such topics as:

  • Coaching planning and design
  • Coaching styles
  • Intervention strategies
  • Practices and multiple outcomes

For further specifics, course locations, dates and costs of FA Youth Award Coaching Courses, prospective candidates should approach their local County Football Association or FA Learning directly.