A Collective Approach

ESPZEN believes a clearly defined playing philosophy provides direction, purpose and guidance to the process of coaching young players. It is important that all our coaches have a clear vision as to how ESPZEN Soccer School wants the game to be played. ESPZEN coaches will incorporate all elements of the playing philosophy into the various exercises used to guide the young players on their football journey.

The style of football played will based on high-tempo possession with the emphasis on movement, quality and imagination. This will be supplemented with a strong work-ethic and tenacity when out of possession.

Key Principles

  • We believe that Football starts with the head and the not with the foot. Thus, Players must be able to think about the game."An ounce of intelligence is worth more than a pound of muscle" by Horst Wein.
  • We constantly aim to stimulate and not to instruct
  • We do not only develop technically skilled players but also intelligent football players who understand the game.
  • We give huge emphasis on small-sided games as players learn faster from "game like" situations.
  • We value winning but not more than character and performance.
  • We teach good sportsmanship and support the  RESPECT Campaign
  • We provide a safe & educational experience that meets best practice criteria by:
    • Having a maximum Coach to Child ratio of 1:12
    • Trying to play attacking, creative football whenever possible
    • Using correct size ball for the age group which is conducive to building confidence and learning speed
    • We believe that all players should enjoy their football regardless of ability
    • We endeavour to produce players, and not coaches, who are problem solvers

Why small-sided games?

We are a firm believer in the idea that players learn the game from playing. ESPZEN have designed and adopted best in class small sided games to help coach players in every aspect of the game, from individual core skills, to team-based attacking strategies.

These games often feature in professional academies around the world. They are designed to stimulate players and lead them down the most effective paths of learning.

Some games require players to work on passing skills in competitive scenarios, while others are more tactically focused, providing players with the skills to see the opportunities before them on the pitch. All games however require the young player to think.

Players will develop core skills through the sheer number of touches that each game guarantees. At the same time they will develop "soccer vision" - the ability to see spaces on the pitch - as each game is played in realistic game conditions.

"Let's have more small-sided games so that they have more ball time. Let's allow them to have fun, take away the importance of winning and stop the young players being afraid of making mistakes. Concentrate on first touch and technique; allow that a short pass can often be more of a killer ball than the big hoof up to the centre-forward." - Sir Trevor Brooking, Director of Football Development, The English FA

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