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player esteem & managing mistakes

"why do children play & what do they want?"

group of children listening to a catalan coach

Young players discover and embrace football for a variety of different reasons, and in a wide range of settings. Some are introduced to football at school, some on the streets, and others through a community club. All players should be engaged in an experience of football that lies in accordance with the run unique qualities and motivations. Here at Catalan Soccer® we develop opportunities for players to work alongside others, learn new skills and experience the highs and lows of winning and losing. The provision of this social, task and ego orientated training is essential to meeting the needs of young footballers.

'Push the right buttons' - From an early age, players begin forming their own set of personal values. Learning, socialising and winning are prioritised differently amongst children, and play a key role in this process. Children's motivation to play football is determined by their personal returns in each of these three areas. Every young players expectations of the game will be truly unique, coaches must consider this when planning games, session practices and themes.

self-correction & managing mistakes

The exact same thing never happens twice in football. Every moment of the game is a truly unique circumstance with ever-changing variables. Each time a player makes an in-game decision, it can only ever be an educated guess as to whether thing will develop in the way that they had planned. Subsequently, the players degree of certainty will differ in any given situation. Making these guesses is an intrinsic part of the learning process, the coach must understand that sometimes things will go wrong. Catalan coaches will never denounce of stigmatise error, we treat them as a valuable and fundamental part of gaining experience.

'Coach it, or let it go?' - At Catalan Soccer® coaching sessions, we aim to manage mistakes effectively and 'spin' them advantageous to a players learning. When a guess goes wrong, for example a pass has been over-hit, our coaches will either direct, question, guide, or just monitor the player to see if they make the same mistake twice. They may also praise the player for what was perhaps a 'good idea' that fell short in its execution. We cater each and every intervention based on individual players self-esteem, confidence, experience and learning profile.


There is a fine line between overcoaching and just facilitating. Whilst any football coach could justify intervening when a child had made a mistake, however player discovery through self-correction can be the most effective strategy in a wide variety circumstances. Catalan coaches always aim to strike a good balance between the level of instruction, and allowing organic self-discovery. Our aim is to produce creative, confident and imaginative players by nurturing self-belief and confidence.

We understand that our own virtues will likely imprint onto the young people in our care. It is our firm belief that a supportive rather than over-bearing approach is the best way to help them achieve their goals. It is also crucial that we allow them to refine their own skills through experimentation and practice. They may learn more from the journey than being fast-tracked to the destination!

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