I have experience working with players with all backgrounds, including Women's 1st team, Men's University 1st team, youth team's 6-19 Men and Women.
Working with smaller groups or 1-1 is a crucial part of any players development, here they’re given a chance to work with developing a functional technique with frequent repetition as well as individualising tools like video and role specific training to improve each players game understanding. The psych-social part of the person must also be considered, how do they react to difficulties, to success or to receiving feedback; developing techniques to optimise this is underlying all other development.
While creating and writing the 1v1 Model I discovered multiple practises suitable for working 1-1 or in small groups (some of which are filmed). The Model discusses how the coach can help create learning through session design and by guiding. When designing practices coaches must consider the player personality, and their development aims. This will become more specific as they grow older and mature more into a set role or position.
With younger players I believe the key lies in designing sessions which involve competition, variation (to the degree of chaos) and embracing a playful attitude. With these ingredients’ players will be inspired and motivated to do their best, while still willing to try skills they find difficult.
Language is key to create this environment. How the coach communicates their message will dictate how it is perceived, often coaches use many words, without saying much. It is crucial to reflect on this; are we saying what we mean? Or are we preaching that players must “switched on”, “aggressive” in the press or traps like speaking about yourself; arguing an action is good because “I want it”. Thus, the coach must reflect on how we word our messages so that they are easy to interpret. Some example of this are the following principles:
Prepare to receive the ball by being in a position where you can see both the ball and the goal. As opposed to “have a correct body position”.
Steal the ball and start an attack. As opposed to “win the ball”.
When working with individuals or small groups there are tons of opportunities, including:
Video sessions, using analysis of the best players in the world as reference or of the learner player.
Technical/tactical training practising the demands of the game.