Structure of the training session

In order to fulfil its dual objective, the session must be structured in such a way that it alternates between games and exercises based on the global-analytical-global (GAG) method.

Warm-up

At the start of the session, a game related to football is recommended for opening the session. Neuromuscular coordination with and without the ball must always take place immediately after the game of football and make up the second part of the warm-up. The opening stage of the session must not exceed 15 minutes.

First game

The first stage of the session’s key part is made up of one or two themed games which will highlight the main objective of the session. During this part, the coach-educator emphasises the main subject by intervening and giving guidance, thus identifying the session’s theme. The first game lasts 15 minutes.

Exercises and drills

Once the children have identified the objective through the game, analytical exercises will ensure that the technical move is repeated and certain details corrected. The coacheducator’s input during this analytical part of the session is very important as he/she must demonstrate, observe, correct and encourage. The length of the analytical part is 12-15 minutes.

Second game

The second game can be directed and/or free and must offer children the possibility of applying what they have practised in real “match” situations. During this part of the session, the coach-educator gives the children more freedom to express themselves by letting them play without intervening too much. This game will be the longest game of the session (20-25 minutes).

Cool-down

The “cool-down” part must fulfil its low-intensity objectives while also satisfying the children’s need to play. It must therefore be composed of one or two low-intensity games. The length of the cool-down is 5-10 minutes. The alternation of the global and analytical methods can be repeated once or twice during a session for the same theme. 

Objectives & exercises

First impressions are always important for children: for this reason, the coach-educator must be acquainted with all the exercises and should prepare the session in advance with specific objectives. The training sessions must be tailored to the participants’ abilities. The coach-educator must get the message across to the children that they are genuinely achieving something.

This realisation will make the session all the more pleasant and full of opportunities for play and learning. However, the coach-educator must be prepared to adapt the session and exercises if he/she considers that changes will improve the children’s motivation and involvement. Here are a few questions to guide a coach-educator when preparing a training session:

 

Objectives

  • What do I want to obtain from this session?
  • What is the subject of the session? 

Exercises:

  • How many children will take part in the session?
  • Will the children enjoy the games and exercises?
  • Will they learn anything?
  • What are the best games and exercises to achieve the objectives of the session?
  • Are the levels of the games and exercises suited to the children’s abilities?
  • Can I explain and demonstrate the games and exercises in a clear, precise way so that the children will understand?
  • Do I have enough equipment for this session? If not, can I adapt the session to the equipment available?
  • Is there enough space to carry out the prepared games and exercises?
  • How can the children help me improve the session?