The Skill Acquisition Phase (U10 – U13)

Phase Overview

The foundation of the Skill Acquisition Phase is built upon:

  • The coach focusing extensively on providing a solid foundation of technical skill.
  • If the player does not gain this skill foundation during this phase it will be very difficult to make it up later.
  • No amount of fitness or competitive spirit will ever compensate for deficiencies in functional game skills.

At this age the children are ready for a more structured approach to training.
In every session the focus is on one of the core skills, from the beginning until the end of the session (“theme based sessions”).

To learn more about the Skill Acquisition Phase please click HERE.

Model Sessions

Skill Acquisition Phase Sessions

About the Skill Acquisition Phase

The emphasis in the Skill Acquisition Phase is on Skill Development but this can/should not be separated from developing insight/game understanding at the same time.

If this approach is applied properly, it will provide a seamless transition into the Game Training Phase.

This principle also relates to the concept of Small Sided Football and appropriate coach behaviour (refer to chapter 3):

During the Skill Acquisition Phase, 2-3 sessions of 60-75 minutes plus a game
is a safe weekly workload, with the following session planning guidelines:

  • Welcome: 5 minutes
  • Skill Introduction: 15-20 minutes
  • Skill Training: 25-30 minutes
  • Skill Game: 20-25 minutes
  • Wrap up: 5 minutes

With 3 sessions per week our advice is to limit the duration of the sessions to 60 minutes and rest the players the day before as well as the day after the game.
So, with a game on Saturday, we recommend a training session on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

The four Core Skills

The FFA Skill Acquisition training program focuses upon developing four core skills when in possession of the ball:

  1. Striking the ball
  2. First Touch
  3. 1v1
  4. Running with the ball

These four core skils cover 95% of the  actions of any outfield player when in possession of the ball during a game of football . The other 5% consists of actions such as heading and throw-ins.

For more information about the Four Core Skills see the Skill Acquisition Phase section beneath ‘About the Curriculum’.

The Skill Acquisition Phase Training Program

In this section you will find an 18 week season program for footballers aged 9-13. This program contains 12 sessions and is based on the assumption of two weekly training sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays with a game on Saturday. For the first 6 weeks, each session is repeated every two weeks with an added variation/progression to make the session more challenging, but only if the players are ready. This is the same in the second and third 6 week cycles.

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