How Do I know which 1-2-1 Coach Is Best For Me?

How Do I know which 1-2-1 Coach Is Best For Me?

Fri 26 June 2020


At the time of writing, the UK is slowly emerging from three months of lockdown due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Three tough months of no high streets, no social activities and no football.

However, upon the easing of the lockdown measures football is slowly making a return to our lives, hooray!!

Due to social distancing measures the emergence of 1-2-1 coaching becoming a predominant sight is now ever popular. On any weekday or evening, a trip to your local park will almost certainly be greeted with one coach, one player and a whole host of cones, hurdles, poles, goals, flags, banners and maybe some music too in some cases!

1-2-1 coaching has long been a popular developmental tool for many aspiring players but with so many coaches, and companies, now offering 1-2-1 coaching, how are you supposed to know who is best, or most appropriate for yourself as a player or your young child?

We Make Footballers Head of Coaching & WMF Essex Academy Director David Pipe shares his views on 1-2-1 coaching:

"Firstly I think it's very important to recognise there is not one correct way. One coach with one style does not make another coach with another style incorrect or ineffective. Respect amongst all coaches should always be there - we are in this together after all! We should however recognise that there are a lot of very good coaches out there offering fantastic and beneficial 1-2-1 coaching. Unfortunately, on the flip side, there are also a lot out there who put on sessions merely to look good on social media, whilst making a healthy profit but without actually providing much benefit to the player.

Secondly, and most importantly, each session should always be enjoyable. It's not a military school - it should be fun, engaging and make the player WANT to do it all over again"

So what does David believe makes a "beneficial" 1-2-1 session?

"A good 1-2-1 coach must always know their player first and foremost. The player is key. They are the one (usually) paying and they are the one who have asked for help! The coach must look to find out what that player requires from their sessions. Some will require technical work with receiving the ball, travelling with the ball or releasing the ball. Others will want to learn new skills, tricks and evasion tactics. Some may be technically competent but just require a psychological confidence boost. Each player is different and the sessions should therefore look different accordingly."

What about hurdles and ladders? They seem very popular. Are they useful?

"I will never say don't use them. They definitely provide a positive use when used correctly, at the right time, with the right players. I have used them in the past and will again in the future, I'm sure. I have however lost count on the number of books I've read, conversations I've had with more experienced coaches than I, webinars attended etc based on skill acquisition and one of the most commonly repeated takeaway points is that the practice should always try to mimic a real life game situation as best it can!

The overuse of ladders & hurdles in a 1-2-1 session, to me, very rarely succeeds at this and largely seems to be time that could be used on far more productive exercises for the player."

How else do WMF Essex 1-2-1 sessions try to be game 'realistic'?

"Lots of different ways. The angles and timing of markers/triggers and the running of the players. The intensity/speed of the session with use of constraints and other challenges. The manner in which the ball is served (very rarely from the coach's hands for example). The fact that every challenge is performed on the move, in a similar way the game of football is always moving and never static.

I try to keep all my sessions as lifelike as possible. For example, if I am working with strikers on finishing the manner/angle in which the ball is delivered, the manner of the player's approach and the execution of the finish must resemble a situation they will find themselves in during a game, otherwise what is the point?"

So who can benefit from 1-2-1 sessions, and who do you work with?

"Absolutely anyone and everyone can benefit from good quality 1-2-1 coaching. I am open to working with players from all levels and all ages. My average week only last season saw me work with 4 year old beginners, into U9s - U15s at academy football, U18s college level, and also first team professionals - I hope and believe we have the experience at WMF Essex to cater for everyone who needs that additional push"

WMF Essex tries incredibly hard to not only be different but also at the top of their game in regards to all aspects of all their sessions.

WMF Essex believe:
- The coach(es) should find out about the player. Get to know them. Their footbaling needs and wants.
- The coach(es) should provide feedback after each session to the player/parent with a clear guide of what the next session may look like and allowing the player/parent to input their ideas.
- That each 1-2-1 session should be different for each player. Yes they can and may look similar of course, but the core of the design and the coaching points given must be unique to that individual player.
- Each session should look and feel realistic to the game. No sessions just to look good on social media.
- Every session should have lots of repetition, but remain fun and engaging at the same time.

WMF Essex are taking more 1-2-1 bookings now, to go along with their current weekly group sessions.

We have a great private venue with top quality facilities to return to once they reopen after lockdown - or any suitable local park can also be used.

To ask any questions, or enquire about a booking please contact David Pipe directly on [email protected]

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