Differentiating

It’s always difficult catering for players of widely differing abilities.

One solution if you’re coaching a group with some children who have been playing for a few years and others who have only played football for a short while, is to separate the players into groups and get an assistant coach to work on the basics with the inexperienced girls or boys.

But if you don’t have the luxury of having assistants you might have to run extra ‘catch up’ sessions for the new youngsters.

There is, however, no reason why a mixed ability group shouldn’t work on the basics together. They all need to improve, even the children who have been playing for years.

For example: I work on first touch with simple games, such as Pass through the gate.

In this game (and others like it) pair up players so that the more experienced girls are playing with the less experienced. Then make the games competitive; who can play the longest without making a mistake?

It helps in this situation with a mixed ability group to take a more games-based approach to training. All your players will enjoy playing SSGs (small sided games) like the 1-0 Game.

Regarding tactics, all players can learn to defend, how to attack and the way different formations work. It shouldn’t matter how skilled they are.