HOW IT WORKS
Complete the form
First, complete the 55 questions below as accurately as you can
Choose a topic area
View your results and choose an area to study
Identify two aims
Use video tasks to identify two specific things to work on
Practice to improve
Let your coach know what you are working on
Playing and practising football is the key to improvement. This webpage will help you to increase the amount of time you have to practice, and to make the most of the time you spend. This will have a big impact on how quickly you improve and how much you learn.
Your mission is to complete all the homework tasks below and identify two key specific things that you want to work on and try to improve in your practice sessions, team training or on your own.
Watch the video. This is an interview with Matthew Syed. He is an expert at skill development. Here is what he says about the importance of practice: "We have the potential to get there, provided we are willing to stick at it for all those many hours".
Are you willing to stick at it? Are you willing to practice practice practice? If so, read on...
When you practice
The first thing we will do is to make a record of how much time we actually practice. We will also identify when and how we could get in more practice hours.
HOMEWORK TASK 1
Find a notepad, or even better a diary you can use. Each week, write in your diary how many hours you spent playing or practising football. (Don't include time spent travelling to/from football, or sitting on the subs bench - only include time you actually spend playing or practising).
See if you can find spaces in your week where you can find extra practice time. Even one or two extra hours a week, will make a massive difference to how quickly you improve.
Here are some ideas for practice time:
- Join a local skill development programme
- Find some friends to play with in a local park
- Take a ball out on your own, or with a friend or parent
[If you need ideas of what kinds of skills you can practice on your own, visit the Improving your weaker foot page and watch the videos].
What you practice
Practice time is precious. It is very important that we use it well. It should be enjoyable to practice, but it might also need you to be highly motivated. (Learning is not always fun!) In order to keep motivated and to use your time well, it is a very good idea to set goals for yourselves.
HOMEWORK TASK 2
Click on the link below to open the Goal-Setting page. Work through the task and activities on this page to develop goals for yourself in football.
How you practice
It is not only the quantity of hours that you practice which is important. Just as important - or perhaps even more important - is actually how you practice within that time.
Scientists have done lots of research on how people develop skills. They have found that the best type of practice for sports is something called Deliberate Practice (or sometimes called Deep Practice). They have found that one hour of Deliberate Practice is more useful and effective than several hours of non-Deliberate Practice. Find out more about Deliberate Practice by watching the videos below.
In the first two videos expert Daniel Coyle talks about the magic and importance of practice, and how quality of time is more important than quantity of time:
Here are the key factors needed for Deliberate Practice
- Practice needs to be intense and focused, and you need to make a lot of effort to learn. Practice should push you to the edge of your abilities, outside your comfort zone
- It helps to set a goal for yourself so you are trying to improve at something in particular (eg. ball control, shooting on target, improving your weaker foot etc)
- There should be repetition of key techniques or skills. Techniques should be corrected, concentrate on correcting the mistakes you make
- It helps to have an expert coach to give feedback and tuition
HOMEWORK TASK 3
Think about the way you currently learn football. Consider your football practices and games.
- Do you currently have any opportunity for Deliberate Practice in your football practices or games?
- How could you change the way you practice to include elements of Deliberate Practice?
HOMEWORK TASK 4
Carli Lloyd is a World Cup Winner with the US team, and Toni Duggan is an England international. Here they tell us how and why they practice on their own, in addition to training with their team
Don't worry if you don't have a big goal, or poles, or lots of footballs. Practice with whatever you have. You can use stones instead of cones, for example, to practice dribbling around.
If you can find someone to help you and give encouragement and a bit of helpful feedback - that's great!
- What are Carli Lloyd and Toni Duggan's key messages around practice?
- What would you need to do or change to practice like this?
Finally, in order to become the best learner we can, we need to look at something called the Growth Mindset. This is important as it will help us have the right attitude to learning and help make the most out of the practice time we spend. We have developed a webpage resource which looks at this important topic here:
Welcome to your HOMEWORK page! Here you will learn about your chosen topic. It is a good idea to save the URL for this page to your favourites so you can easily return to it when you need to.
You need to work through the tasks on the page, one at a time. This might mean watching videos, it might mean doing other tasks and activities. It may be a good idea to take notes also. Remember that the more work and effort you put into the tasks, the more you will learn and the better you will become.
For most topics, there will be a PRINT OUT at the bottom of the page. You need to print this, complete the questions, and take to your coach. You need to do this so the coaches know what you are working on and are able to help you.
If any of the links on this page are broken, or you have other ideas or suggestions, please get in touch at: