Our Methods at We Make Footballers

We Make Footballers
26 March 2022

We Make Footballers are proud of how our teaching methods have evolved over the years. A lot of effort and thought goes into how we structure our teaching to get the best results out of our players. Please take a read of our methodology which is the key to helping children of all abilities become the best footballers they can be.

The “Discovery Learning Theory” compared with “Guided Discovery” and how We Make Footballers use them

Discovery learning is a technique of inquiry-based learning and is considered a constructivist based approach to education. It is supported by the work of learning theorists and psychologists Jean Piaget, Jerome Bruner, and Seymour Papert.

Despite societal assumptions, and built-in views, of how people learn, our approach to coaching is largely through the learning theory. Most learning is undertaken within a cluster of ideas or experiences, or the result of the ‘default’ view in a particular teaching programme.

However, evidence of use, implementation, and impact on practice from all approaches to learning is not yet available.

  • There are significantly different ways of understanding learning.
  • There is a relative absence of empirically informed research into coach learning.

Our results suggest our learning theory works well!

With over 200 players signed to professional clubs (check out the Head Office Instagram page, #WMForiginals) you will see our theory on how our players learn seems to be working well.

Discovery theory works well because:

We find if you give players all the answers, they get lazy. They don’t think for themselves. They can’t problem solve. We want to present situations in which the environment teaches them. A very simplified explanation of how memory works is that we have long-term memory and short-term memory. Once a person has something in their long-term memory it will always be in their brain, even if it’s a memory of an awful cup final mistake they have suppressed for years; it’s there somewhere. However short-term memory hasn’t been stored properly and can therefore be forgotten.

We subscribe to the theory that by learning through discovery the child has more chance of storing skills and knowledge in their long-term memory.

Is using Q&A "Learning through discovery"?

No. Many coaching purists would argue Q & A, in which the coach draws the answer they want from the child, is Guided Discovery. We Make Footballers believe in a combination of Learning Through Discovery, Guided Discovery and occasionally an Autocratic (controlling) coaching style.

Can you see why drawing the answer from the player would be Guided Discovery? As a coach you are directing the player to think a certain way, there is nothing necessarily wrong with this, but you should just be aware it is not allowing the player to come up with the required solution completely independently.

Guided Discovery will often speed up the process in which the player finds the ‘right answer’ (right answer = best chance of creating a goal, or goal scoring chance, winning back possession or repeat possession). With trial and error, by learning through discovery, we are hoping the child gets the answer, however it may not come. The guidance points them in the right direction (the right direction is always open to interpretation).

When we point a player to the ‘right direction’, it has to link to our playing style:

We Make Footballers believe in a quick, clever and attractive style of football through the thirds of a pitch. Our philosophy is based around keeping possession, fluidity of movement with a purpose. We firmly believe in playing where there is space and taking the most open route to goal (through, over or around the opposition via disguised, unpredictable clever play and quick combination.)


Footballers need to repeat techniques over and over to strengthen neural-pathways. However, the majority of children don’t want to perform repetitive tasks for long periods, and lack the concentration skills to repeat techniques for the duration we need to make a difference.

So what do we do?

Well, we trick them! For our younger children, we communicate through engaging their imagination. Combining fantastical and adventurous scenarios with more challenging exercises brings us into their world, and them into ours. When you ask your son or daughter if they want to go back to football for another 10 sessions, we want them to remember all the amazing adventures they had with us. Our sessions incorporate the required repetitions without boring the children to tears by bringing imagination into our drills.

We won’t speak to our players like toddlers, but they are still children who need enthusiastic, fun coaching. They need motivation and they need variety. If a child gets bored at training they will normally behave badly or ask their parents to quit the training. For this reason, we will always combine a challenging exercise with a fun drill or game and end our session with small sided matches.

The We Make Footballers Player Criteria

We’ve shared our methods to help parents become more aware as to how we “make” our footballers! We work with each child no matter their ability to become the best footballer and person they can be. We have found that football facilitates experiences that help our players develop communication skills, and build their overall confidence levels.

Our coaching syllabus is aimed at developing the Technical, Physical and Social sides of the game, as well as developing the player’s game understanding. The weekly sessions are focused on the technical and physical sides of the game but it’s our holiday camps which develop all four areas (especially the social side!).

These criteria are what our coaches use to monitor and measure the development of our players:

Our aim is that each child develops a little more every time they come to We Make Footballers. We hope to make a difference by working on these areas over the 39 weekly sessions a year and 6 holiday camps.