Irish Grassroots Football

Remembering Horst Wein 1941-2016

Last Sunday one of the most formative coaches in the history of the game passed away. I was going to write a message about my experiences with Horst and how I first came across him back in 2009. Dermot Dalton from the (a website devoted to Horst Wein Philosophy) and myself ran the first coaches seminar with Horst Wein back in 2011. Soon after Dermot introduced Ireland to a unique training programme for 7-9 year olds, called FUNino The Beautiful Game for Kids which is proven component of the Spanish Football Development Model Futbol a la medida del Niño or football designed for children. These methodology was started in 1993. Find out more about this unique game >> here

This is a short video of the seminar in Dublin. It was great to see all the top people from coach education with the FAI at the workshop. I’m sure they were inspired by Horst as everyone who met him was!!!

Dermot’s Message: 

Our dear friend, mentor and inspiration passed away on Sunday 14th February 2016. He will be sadly missed by his many friends in the world of football, hockey and beyond.

Born in Hannover, Germany, Horst lived for the latter half of his life in Barcelona, where he is survived by his two sons.

His influence first in the game of hockey started as a German International player, and later as a coach, leading Spain to their first ever European title and an Olympic silver medal. He was the first to be awarded the title of FIH Master Coach and also became the first ever coach to the European team for their match against Asia in 1975. His book “The Science of Hockey” has sold more copies than any other hockey book.

Horst was encouraged by FC Barcelona to bring his game intelligence approach to football and he worked as a consultant for many top European and International clubs as well as a host of international football federations. His lasting legacy to Spanish football is his famous age-appropriate development model “Futbol a la medida del Nino” which has been the official textbook there for more than two decades.

Horst will be fondly remembered for his passion to bring a child-friendly approach to coaching soccer and indeed all sports.

Here are a sample of some of the tributes made to Horst this week:

 I am sorry for your loss…for the entire world’s loss.  Horst’s vision and his passion were wonderful to behold, and I have no doubt that, with your help, it will continue to sweep the world.  The kids embrace it, and soon enough they will outnumber those who don’t.  I feel privileged to have met him and attended your workshop last year.

I am saddened to learn the news of Horst’s passing. He was an inspirational coach, and a brilliant human being. I regard it as a privilege to have met Horst, and to have spent quality time with him. His innovative approach to coaching and education and his desire to empower others meant his life will always be remembered. He impacted the world in a healthy way.

When great people like Horst pass on we all hurt. We are grateful that he left us with so much to study from, and so much to pass on. Currently, I am in a fight for the basic rights of youth players. Horst and yourself through Funiño and your passion for teaching children have been a great source of strength as I bare down in my battle against those who try to steal the innocence of the Beautiful Game.

Sometimes you know immediately that you have met someone who is a blessing in your life and in that of others. Horst was certainly one of those people and had a vision and a passion to use this great game to empower people, to educate and to serve them. He did this with an open mind and a dreamers heart.

In Horst, we’ve lost a world class soccer visionary. In my view, his methods put him in a class all by himself. He was unique in that he found the formula to enhance knowledge and passion for the game at the same time. All the while staying true to the simple and beautiful game. Because of Horst, there are thousands of players all around the world that got the chance to truly enjoy playing soccer at a higher level…A sad day. Horst will be sorely missed here… Thankfully he remains on the field with us at every session.

I receive this news with a heavy heart. It was an absolute honor to have met and learned from Horst. My condolences to his family. The work to deliver his message must go on. His influence is visible in the joy of the children around the world playing the beautiful game. The friendships that I have made through my relation with Horst will certainly go on and I also consider them priceless.

I guess now God will be playing FUNino in heaven! Horst has been a soccer angel on earth! He will be missed not only for his soccer excellence but as a great human being!

Horst really lived his life through his love of giving to youth sport…1stly hockey…then Football…he was always ready to learn..and always ready to share….the great thing is he has left a legacy for kids Football just when the world of kids sport really needs to lighten up and allow them to play..lets all carry on his work and help kids enjoy their sport again!

I’m thankful to have known him and I’m so appreciative for the friends I’ve made through him. Horst was one of a kind in many ways and he’ll be missed my many around the world.

We will miss you, dear friend, but your work continues in the many coaches you have inspired to care about their sport, whether hockey, football or other, and the many children who have experienced the joy of exploring their game in a care-free discovery environment.



Thanks for that message Dermot.

The TCD Facebook also page received some messages:

Saddened to here of the passing of Mr. Horst Wein the “Coach of Coaches” I had the pleasure to spend sometime with him in Barcelona and then again during our coaching workshop in Dublin back in 2011.

He said to me, “In Ireland the kids are not allowed to discover the game and the beauty of the game of football. Why, they are exposed to competition which is by far to difficult and to complex for them. Competition for kids, should fit them like their shoes. Over here, at the moment our kids are playing with shoes that are by far to big and don’t suit them perfectly.”

He also said that Brazil would not qualify for the 2018 world cup, that was something that I also remembered from our meeting in Barca.

Horst always challenged us to re-think youth development and he inspired me to keep challenging and developing. I know plenty of Irish Coaches will be very sad to hear this terrible news. Rest in Peace Horst

Yes agreed an inspiration…to me

Sadness. Brilliant man!

My first introduction to coaching material was through Horst Wein and he inspired me continuously improve my game.

Horst was a true inspiration and coach legend.

You can find out more about this wonderful coach on and Dermot’s website is  

The rights of a young football player,

“Developing Youth Soccer Players” by Horst Wein (RIP)

  1. The right to enjoyment both in practice and in competition, with a wide variety of activities that promote fun and easy learning.
  2. The right to play as a child and not be treated like an adult, either on or off the playing field.
  3. The right to participate in competitions with simplified rules, adapted to their level of ability and capacity in each stage of their evolution.
  4. The right to play in conditions of greatest possible safety.
  5. The right to participate in all aspects of the game.
  6. The right to be trained by experienced and specially prepared coaches and developers.
  7. The right to gain experience by resolving most of the problems that arise during practices.
  8. The right to be treated with dignity by the coach, their team-mates, and by their opponents.
  9. The right to play with children of their own age with similar chances of winning.
  10. The right not to become a champion.

*Main post picture supplied by the beautiful game


I always like to hear your opinions and views. If you feel you have something to say, please comment below or email me If, you don’t have anything to add then please forward this on to a friend. As always, thanks for reading.

I’m also on twitter @Coachdiary

Irish Grassroots Football

Horst Wein’s visit to Ireland in 2011

This is an event I organised with Dermot Dalton from in 2011.This was Horst Wein first visit to Dublin. I had met Horst a few months previous in Barcelona.

In the 5 minute video, he discusses the changes we need to make to improve kids football in Ireland. I think we have come along way since this was video made. Horst highlights so much and certainly gives us a lot to think about.

“In Ireland the kids are not allowed to discover the game and the beauty of the game of football. Why, they are exposed to competition which is by far to difficult and to complex for them. Competition for kids, should fit them like their shoes. Over here, at the moment our kids are playing with shoes that are by far to big and don’t suit them perfectly.” Horst Wein

This workshop was well attended, including most the FAI Coaching Department and other well established coaches. Although we have seen some progression, we still have such a long way to go. If you want to find out more about Horst Wein’s 3v3, go straight


I always like to hear your opinions. Please comment below or email me If, you don’t have anything to add then please forward this on to a friend. Thanks for reading. I’m also on twitter @Coachdiary

Irish Grassroots Football

Funino is the future!

Ireland is evolving and so are the methods of the many coaches around the country, but of all the small sided games programmes, FUNINO is the most creditable and the best format for developing the game of football.

If you have heard of Funino you can download the ‘Ultimate Mini Game with Four Goals’ programme at the bottom of this article. Funino is the most excited game in the world and the only one designed to unlock creativity and game intelligence. Developed by the Horst Wein, a University Lecture and former German and Spanish Olympic Hockey Teams Coach. His methods have been used for over 20 years by the Royal Spanish Football Federation, for 7 years by Australian Football Federation and now the Mexican football Federation has published the first volume of “Futbol a la medida del nino”.

“There was once a time when street football and free play was the norm. Then we become adults wanted to control it , make it organised and forgot the child in all of us” UEFA B Coach Mark O Sullivan

What makes this even more relevant is an Irish man called Dermot Dalton of is helping Wein re-write his methods, which are now being used by the North Dublin School Boy League. The programme which is designed for 7 to 9 year olds is currently being employed by six Professional Clubs in the German Bundesliga. A game that can be used for older players in training and even up-to and including professional level.


This is a game for young players to discover the magic of The Beautiful Game with a programme designed especially for them:

  • Experience the “renaissance of street football” in the 21st century.
  • Be the best coach you can be, creating a player-centred environment where young talent flourishes.
  • Introduce your players to game intelligence while establishing their technique, in a player-centred, game-oriented programme.
  • 32 official  games
  • 24 Preparatory/corrective games
  • 20+ important game variables

Horst Wein’s training programme for 7-9 year olds is based on his proven game of Mini-Football, now called which is the abbreviation for “ Futbol a la medida del Niño” or “football designed for children.”

The programme is the result of 27 years of innovation, practice and continuing improvement and is part of the Horst Wein Youth Football Development Model, which is the official textbook of the Spanish Football Federation since 1993 and is used by FC Barcelona, Athletico Bilbao and many top clubs around the world. This breakthrough approach to inducting young children into the game of football obviously has an emphasis on FUN so that children come to fall in love with the game from the earliest ages. It has been called the “Revival of Street Football. “


Last Monday saw the official Funino programme launch at the NDSL headquarters. 20 mini pitches inside a full 11 aside pitch for a group of boys and girls age 8 and 9. A total of 85 kids turned out to experience the programme first hand. This is another great leap by the NDSL in trying to re-structure the grassroots game, who are the first league in Ireland to introduce this format. The training will continue every Monday from 6 to 7pm for u9s and 7 to 8pm for u10s and spaces are still available.

The Benefits of the 3v3

  • The two wide goals at each end encourage young players to use the wings in attack and open up the play.
  • Playing with 2 goals stimulates greater reading and understanding of the game, including peripheral vision, perception and decision making skills before executing any actions.
  • Stimulates, more than any other traditional football game, intelligence, perception, imagination and creativity.
  • Sufficient space and time allows children to read the game and play constructive football and to develop basic communication skills.
  • More time and space, better reading of the game and better decision-making and skill execution means less mistakes.
  • Due to the fact that the same basic game situations appear again and again (i.e. the 2v1 situation) the young players learn very quickly.
  • In FUNino, 8 and 9 year olds enjoy more touches on the ball, treating it as their best friend. No long clearances or wild and dangerous kicks can be seen in which players “violate the ball”.
  • Players attack and defend in a triangular formation for better communication and collaboration. Positioning in the field is easy.
  • Allows an all round development of all participants as there are no fixed positions in a team which would avoid too early specialization. Everybody has to attack as well as to defend, using the whole pitch.
  • Usually there are lots of goals and goalmouth action.
  • Each player scores more than one goal per game.
  • All the players get to experience a starring role in this dynamic game.
  • All 3 players, including the weaker ones, play a critical role in this game and are involved mentally and physically throughout the game. Nobody can hide!

We, at The Beautiful Game, believe that our proven youth development model can achieve a number of important goals at the same time:

  1.  All children get to enjoy the game of football as children (and not as mini-adults) as the game(s) are tailored to their needs.
  2. Children have the opportunity to reach their full potential, whatever that is, through an optimal development model, including a player-centred approach, that is games-oriented (rather than drills) and a guided discovery coaching style (rather than the traditional instruction style).
  3. As the model is more inclusive and fair than the traditional elitist model, there are many social and character/lifestyle benefits emanating from this approach.


There will be a one day Funino course held the NDSL on Saturday 2nd November and Sunday 9th November. T

Saturday 2nd November 2013

9am – 4.30pm


Sunday 10th November

9am – 4.30pm

Oscar Traynor Centre, Coolock

€90 (including printed Funino manual)

For further details on Funino contact or call Dermot on 086 8513339.

Download the FUNINO BROCHURE OCT 2013


I always like to hear your opinions. Please comment below or email me If, you don’t have anything to add then please forward this on to a friend. Thanks for reading.

I’m also on twitter @Coachdiary

Coaching Clinics

FUNino Coaching Clinic

FUNiño is the introductory module of Futbol a la medida del niño, the world famous “Youth Football Development Model” by Horst Wein which has been the official textbook of the Spanish Football Federation since 1993, and represents a significant breakthrough in youth football coaching.

The magic formula of playing 3v3 on 4 goals introduces width,  options, perception and decision-making –  laying a solid foundation for  Game Intelligence.


FUNiño is the fastest growing development game for kids in the world today. It has been used extensively all over Europe and South America, currently in use at 6 Bundesliga clubs and recommended by Arrigo Sacchi, Technical Director of the Italian Football Federation.

2 Day Coach Training Clinic – With Dermot Dalton of The Beautiful Game in partnership with the NDSL

Sunday 21 and Sunday 28 April 2013

  • Time: 10.00am – 5.30pm
  • Location: Oscar Traynor Centre (NDSL)
  • Cost: €100 p.p. (includes 100 page  manual, value €30)

A complete development programme for 7-9 year olds :

  • Learn to use games rather than drills for greater development
  • Learn the Game Intelligence Approach to Coaching
  • Learn Guided Discovery for greater understanding and retention
  • 24 Preparatory/corrective games
  • 32 Official FUNiño games


Sunday 21st April

DAY 1               PRACTICAL CLINIC:        

10.00 am – the official rules

Preparatory and corrective exercises/game 1

12.30 pm – Lunch

13.30 pm – Preparatory and corrective exercises/games 2

16.00 pm – Player Evaluation Test

16.45 pm – Pentathlon

17.30 pm – Finish                                                           

Sunday 28th April

DAY 2             PRACTICAL CLINIC:   

10.00 am – 32 games part 1

12.00 pm – Lunch

13.00 pm – 32 games part 2

17.30 pm – Finish

For details contact Dermot Dalton 086 8513339 or

To book ring Margaret at the NDSL  01 8488802


Irish Grassroots Football

Not in Wein

So Horst has been and gone and if you’re sorry you missed this professor in action, worry not, he’s back the end of September for a 3 day workshop.

To find out more or register for this exclusive event with limited spaces contact or visit his website

Time to reflect

So after a couple of days to take it all in and look back on last weekend’s events, I was never in doubt about Horst methods, his passion and honesty.  What I didn’t realise is how long Horst has been travelling the globe talking about his ideologies ( 54 countries now) and how stupid the world of football is or even how greedy men controlling the game are.

I wonder how Horst can keep going, flight after flight, country after country,  coach after coach, federation to federation; speaking of his simple ideas of age appropriate games to game intelligence but very few seem to make change. It just shows that people involved in the organisations of children’soccer should be locked up for failing our kids and as host put it allowing children “to wear adults shoes, when they should be wearing ones that fit”

Such a modest man

Anyone who attended could have warmed to this man, he is an absolute genius and I don’t think anyone can have an opinion on his methods, ideas and games unless you have seen it with their own eyes.  I was however disappointed to see not one representative from the NDSL (supposedly the league that is looking for change), DDSL (wouldn’t have expected anyone) and SDFL (was actually expecting someone, but no one came).  However representatives game from the Longford and Drogheda leagues.

With that poor showing it assures me that the change will come from people like YOU, the beautiful game and many of the passionate coaches who attended Horst talks and the ones who have been doing the right by kids for so long now, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!

“Nurture decrees that children should be CHILDREN before they become ADULTS. If we try to alter this natural order, they will reach adulthood prematurely but with neither SUBSTANCE nor STRENGTH”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

We need balls

The issue with the top men running CHILDRENS leagues is that they have too much at stake; they have too much to lose and not a lot to gain. MONEY and POWER are a big part of these decisions and although many of the leagues hierarchy will flirt with ideas, very few will be implemented down at grassroots level. Many in the SFAI have a lot to answer for and you might think I’m being harsh and I’m well aware they’re not all rotten apples and in fact I know some very smart men involved in leagues all over Ireland but collectively as a group they have very little intelligence!!

Unless clubs go it alone and decide this is how we are going to develop kids from now on, things will not change as quickly as we would want. I’m fully behind the beautiful game and Horst ideas, I don’t believe anyone else has come up with a better Youth Development System. Horsts 3v3 games of which he has 21 different variations are some of the best games kids of all levels and abilities will enjoy playing.  I highly advise clubs to implement these at the youngest ages. I know many are doing 3v3 but not to the extent and in the same way Horst has created for the kids. many do not know even why they are…….I for one have not been doing it right and will never stop learning.

Coach Education

The FAI coach education have to be complimented for showing up to see what Horst was about, it shows that they are open minded and willing to listen to new ideas about Youth Development. It was a shame that the people who make the POWERFUL decision in the leagues did not have the same curiosity.

So let’s see you comes to spend 3 days with Horst late September, if you come and you don’t like it well at least you came, but I don’t want to listen to people who have an opinion but have never actually heard the man speak.

“In Ireland there is no model that enables young people to grow. The growth process of a player takes at least 12 years. I can not say that Guardiola has applied my two books word for word. I know who bought them and that he liked and that definitely took me some ideas. In Barcelona, we respect the time of the boys. We are waiting because they are products of nature. You can speed up these processes with “aid” outside. We want to develop their creativity, their imagination, not can exploit. In Ireland you think that football is played with the feet first, instead of the whole head. We are in 2011, Ireland has remained in the Middle Ages.”

Horst Wein

In live an open mind is a virtue but not so open that your brains fall out – “Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can – there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.”

To find out more about Horst Wein visit

Coaching Clinics Irish Grassroots Football

Horst Wein

The Horst will be in Ireland next weekend kicking off on Friday 22nd July7pm at Portmarnock Sport and Leisure Club. Other venues TBC

If your club or league is interested in hosting this amazing coach please get in touch ASAP.

Mr Horst Wein will introduce his world renowned YOUTH FOOTBALL DEVELOPMENT MODEL.

Portmarnock Sports and Leisure Centre (PSLC) (Top of Carrick Hill Road, Portmarnock).

Friday 22nd July

7.15pm to 10.00pm

Registration from 6.50pm

€10 per person


Saturday 23rd July

10.15am to 1.00pm

Registration from 9.45am

€10 per person

Youth Development

The IRISH YOUTH FOOTBALL DEVELOPMENT MODEL has been designed by perhaps the world’s foremost mentor of football coaches, Horst Wein. The contents of his books, some published by the Royal Spanish Football Federation, since 1985 have changed the game at youth level in many Spanish clubs and are now taught in 53 countries of the four continents to more than 11 500 coaches. Horst was Head Coach of Nike FC in the UK from 2000-2003 and has consulted at such top clubs around the world as Arsenal, Inter Milan, FC Barcelona, Villareal, Peñarol Montevideo, Leeds Utd, Schalke O4, Pachuca, America and Pumas from México.

He also cooperated with the United Nations in a project to use the game of football as a school of life for excluded children in South America. He is the author of 35 sports text books, some of them translated in 8 languages and the world’s first ever multimedia book in football coaching.

His model gives also the answers to the big dilemma that all youth coaches face every weekend: How do I develop all the young players in my care to the maximum of their potential, when I am constantly put under pressure from their parents and the football administrations which encourage more winning games and leagues instead of favouring long term development ?

Experts and officials are commenting since a decade the lack of creative talent in Irish football. To overcome this, Horst with his different vision of developing young football players, proposes the answers and will explain and demonstrate them practically and theoretically in his taster sessions in Ireland this weekend.

The taster sessions serve as an appetizer for his main clinic on 30th September to the 2nd October in Dublin: Developing Game Intelligence in Football

Brought to you by The Beautiful Game

Attached link is an interview Horst did with an Indian Radio station last May.

Horst on Indian Radio podcast

Coaching Clinics Irish Grassroots Football

Top International Soccer Coach Points the Way For Irish Youth Soccer

His name Horst Wein and most of you probably have never heard of him before, to many he is perhaps the most famous mentor of soccer coaches and trainers around the world.

He has taught coaches in over 53 countries covering 4 continent and has written 31 sport related text-books, including 4 for soccer. He is an Olympic silver medal coach and was the first coach from the western world to be invited to train athletes in the former Soviet Union in the late 70’s.

“Football for everybody, everybody for football”

So far

He has worked as a consultant with Inter Milan, Leeds United, Sunderland and for various Olympic games and currently works cooperatively with the Centre for Research and Studies (CEDIF) of the Royal Spanish Football Federation. He regularly travels the world helping other adapt the game of soccer to better suit the young players, he recently designed the USA project for schools in Central and North America and NIKE UK appointed him as head coach for their famous Premier Football training programme and we soon be coming to Ireland to introduce us to his Youth Soccer Development Model, a model that is being rolled out all over the world.

Before Soccer

Before turning 15 years ago to Soccer, Horst Wein’s methods were already successfully experienced and applied in other team sports, like field hockey and ice hockey. Nineteen member countries of the International Hockey Federation are using his “Development Model in thousands of clubs and schools, whilst in Finland, one of the top countries in ice hockey, the young hockey players are learning quicker than ever and at the same time enjoying their practise and their rich and attractive competition program thanks to the methods of Horst Wein and those of the former captain of the Finish Ice Hockey team at three Olympic Games, Juhani Wahlsten.

*What you are about to read has been taken from Archives written about him, so you could say this is from the “Horst mouth”

Horst Wein Concept

Horst Wein always been convinced that one way of promoting the game of football and persuading more youngsters to take up the sport is, to make the practise of football more enjoyable, attractive and from the learning point of view more effective!

Few children relish hours of boring practice, but if ones make the training pleasant and easily understood for the teacher and the young players and furthermore one combines it with a stimulating variation of different competitions which are considering the actual level of physical and mental capacities of the children, that’s a different proposition.

Wein, having learnt through his intensive travelling that many countries still use inadequate methods in youth soccer, believes that he is able to solve their big problem. He looked at the way subjects like mathematics or languages are taught progressively in schools and thought the same principles could be applied to the teaching of team sports.

Before introducing his ideas in the “Centro Piloto del Calcio Giovanile” of the Italian Football Federation in Rome, in 1986 taught his revolutionary football principles to the youth soccer coaches of FCBarcelona.

The encouragement given by the coaches in Rome and FC Barcelona stimulated Wein to publish his method in his first football text book “Programmed learning in Youth Football” in Italian language which 10 years later went in the 5th edition and was also published in Spain under the title “Fútbol a la medida del niño” (“Football tailored to the child -An optimal coaching and learning model to unlock and develop the innate potential of young football players”) by the “Centre of studies, development and research of the Royal Spanish Football Federation”.

After the great acceptation of his philosophy by Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and South American coaches (supported by his popular coaching clinics for coaches and the success of his second book “Fútbol a la medida del adolescente” (“Football tailored to the adolescents”), several famous football clubs in different countries ( for instance Inter Milan, Peñarol Montevideo, UNAM “Pumas” of Mexico, Cruz Azul, Real Sociedad de San Sebastian and Universidad Católica de Chile) decided to invite him to demonstrate and later on adopt his methods.

“ It is not sufficient to teach  your players well, it’s essential for future successes to prepare them better than others”

(Horst Wein).

The Approach

One of the problems in coaching soccer is the complexity and variety of situations which the player is required to face. There is also a considerable range of techniques and skills which the handling of those situations demands. In this different approach to develop young soccer players with the FOOTBALL DEVELOPMENT MODEL, Horst Wein doesn’t simply list the skills to master at each age group but the situations most commonly encountered in football. These are incorporated in a progressive sequence of several simplified games. For each of them the educational aims and the skills, that are necessary to successfully resolve particular game situations, are clearly defined. However, the skills are only taught (with help of advanced programmed “corrective exercises or games “) when the player has realised in the proceeding competitive simplified game a lack of a certain ability or capacity which prevented him from succeeding.

At all 5 levels of formation Horst Wein manages to construct a solid bridge between learning a subject and applying it some moments later in a simplified training game or official competition. Training and competitions are always seen as a unit, one being tightly linked to the other. The players are always highly motivated in their training because they see the practise game orientated and not isolated from the competition as frequently observed in youth football.

Back to Natural Ways

Wein believes that all things in nature have a gestation period and must progress through a natural sequence until reaching maturity. Natural learning in any team sport should work the same way!

The step-by-step approach is one of the keys to success in his model, which uses the brain’s innate ability to make memory-building connections. Each accomplishment is broken down into a series of small steps, gradually and methodically leading to the final goal, the mastering of the 11-a-side game.

Level 1

First the young players from 7 years onwards are exposed to a program of ” Games for developing basic skills and capacities”. Once the youngsters have mastered a great variety of multilateral tasks (incl. the “Football-Decathlon”), they progress to the program of simplified games 2 v 2s and 3 v 3s.

Here they can experiment and improve on the skills and basic tactical behaviours which they learnt before when they were exposed to a great variety of stimuli included in the dribble games, games for tackling, games for passing, controlling and shooting and multilateral games.

Level 2 and 3

Of the formation, the players understand and learn to play successfully the competitions of “Mini Football” which is considered an ideal base to prepare the 8 and 9 years old players (together with the practise of several simplified games for teams made up by 3 and 4 players) to face with 10 and 11 years the more complex and difficult problems included in 7-a-side soccer.

Finally with 12 and 13 years the young players show their excellent skill level and football intelligence in the competition of 8-a-side football which is played between the two penalty areas of the full-size filed on mobile 6m x 2m goals, always with a frequent interchange of players.

Every two years the difficulty and complexity of the competition are increased in harmony with the physical and intellectual growth of the players. That means that the competition (as well as the contents and methods used in the training program) is adapted at each stage of development of the young player to his characteristics and not vice-versa. In this way the child always has the feeling of accomplishment, will love the game and want to come back for more.

The Progression

The young soccer player progresses slowly from one unit or game to the next one, confronted continuously with slightly more complex and difficult problems, just like lessons received in mathematics in school. The progression occurs when the technical and tactical requirements of one simplified game or competition are understood and mastered to a high degree. Advancing in Horst Wein’s detailed program of teaching and learning to play football the natural way, the coach of the young football player experiments that training is a process of development by gradually increasing demands.

“It is not sufficient to develop your players well, it’s essential for future successes to prepare them better than the others!”

(Horst Wein)

Football Developmental Model

Following his proposal for a FOOTBALL DEVELOPMENT MODEL step by step , similar to what happens in all schools with the teaching of mathematics, languages or other signatures, will enable less experienced soccer teachers or coaches to let young soccer players grow over eight years of effective and enjoyable practice of simplified games (with the respective corrective games and formative competitions ) into the full game of football.

The result is already known: a more intelligent and more complete football player.

With an integrated approach to learning, children get encouraged in all 5 levels of formation to make during the practice of many simplified games and their attached corrective exercises/games constantly connections between technical execution, tactical and overall knowledge and other important capacities like vision, co-ordination, anticipation, will and physical qualities. Never the mistake is done, like in traditional education theories, to compartmentalise the coaching of the game of soccer in discrete disciplines (techniques, tactics, physical fitness and mental preparation).

Instead children always experience and enjoy the game in Wein’s “Football Development Model” as a dynamic whole.

In Summary

What are the common development problems that all our young players are facing and what are we doing to address these, what plan have the SFAI or FAI or whoever wants to take control of Youth soccer in this country for the future of the KIDS game?

Many of the Provinces, Various Academies and Clubs are addressing some of these issues – but only in isolation, I mean can you name more then 5 clubs that are actually putting the correct structure in place with the emphasis on DEVELOPMENT? Demanding coaches develop over winning?

We need a common strategy and action plan so that we can make progress as a nation. It is understood that successful player development programs require at least 10 years before success can be clearly demonstrated. Therefore, we should start now and if we do not have our own model, which I don’t believe we do unless someone is writing one as I type….? then perhaps we adopt Horst Wein’s?

It can be over looked, it is one that many of the top clubs and federations in the world are currently adopting. Can we afford not too?

Coming To Ireland

Horst Wein will be in Dublin from July 22nd – 25th for a promotional visit and then return to complete a coaching seminar  in September.

If you want to find out more about his July or maybe your club or league would like to host this legend, get in touch

Contact Antonio or Dermott Dalton, and new website launching soon come and listen to the man, what have you got to lose, only your bad coaching habits!!!!

Research: Horst Wein’s Material and Books

If you have the time (9mins) take a look at this post about “The Little Stars”


Friday 22nd July at 7pm – Portmarnock Sport and Leisure Club  (€10 entry)

Saturday 23 July 10am – PSLC

Saturday 23rd  TBC

Sunday 24th TBC