Coaching Irish Grassroots Football

We don’t dribble…

Barcelona have changed they way football should be played and most kids football teams try to copy their heroes. Barca are teaching kids the FUNdamentals of the game at a very young age, the kids are allowed to take risks and are encouraged to dribble as much as possible. In fact you could say Iberian kids in general.

Lately I listen to coaches who are trying to play a one and two touch game, which is great to watch and has its benefits. My only concern is that, young players and being told to pass too quickly and this is discouraging them getting on the ball and attempting to dribble. It is stops them from running at players, as they look to pass instead.


Recently I spoke with a Spanish national coach and he told me that the young players are first tough how to control the ball, they get a feel for it and are always encouraged to dribble. “we play alot of 2v2 and 3v3 and this allows kids to show off their skills”, he also stressed that “it is important that children are thought from a young age to enjoy the ball and that dribbling and beating players is part of the game, in the end its the goals they love best about the game and dribbles create goals”

The fact of the matter is Spanish kids are dribbling from a young and encouraged to do so all the way up. As they get older and the game gets more tactical, they are thought where and when to dribble and when to hold or pass. As they are generally small by nature, their balance and agility is usually exceptional compared to Irish and English kids, who are generally more powerful and direct, due to the way we coach and play.

Time for change

It seems to me we are working in a different cycle, we start with power and then try to teach technique and as we all know teaching any child the technique to perform a skill  is always best done at a younger age!

We need to dig deep into our development system and re-structure the youth development programmes, with competitive football playing a huge part in why we don’t produce enough technically gifted individuals.

There is no point in certain junior clubs implementing the right ideas and other not following or having the structures to do so. We need to be singing from the same hymn sheet and that goes for everyone across this small island of ours.

We still have so much to learn and learn we can!


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

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Facebook comments:


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.