When you think of the most skillful players currently playing, they are often incredibly technical players who are capable of doing unbelievable things with the ball. To help players develop skills and techniques it is important to:

  • Build up from the foundations in order to succeed in mastering skills.
  • Provide the level of detail needed to master the application of a technique.
  • Give players context and how the technique/skill relates to the game.

Put the Foundations in Place

Developing skill and technique is possibly one of the important foundations a player can have in order to play the game at a good level, but there are building blocks that need to be in place before that is a realistic goal. Players should already be on their way to forming new movements in terms of physical literacy (SAQ warm ups, balance and co-ordination components within practices) as well as attaining a level of ball mastery where players can manipulate the ball with different surfaces of the foot.

Level of Detail/Knowledge

 With motor skill development in place, the building blocks start to stack up so that technique and skill development can take place. In order to master a skill, it's important that coaches can demonstrate as well as effectively share their knowledge and expertise with the players. This requires attention to detail. When you set up the session, have you considered the following:

  • Who are we teaching the technique to?
  • What is the chosen technique?
  • What is the momentum of the attacker/defender?
  • Where is the pressure coming from?
  • Where is the space on the field?
  • Why this technique v. another?
  • When would you go forwards? Sideways? Backwards?
  • What if the technique doesn't work? What's plan B?

Three E's (Entry, Execution, Exit)

If you've addressed the 6 W's (6W's = Who, What, Where, When, Why, What If?) then you've probably layered in a good deal of information already. To break it down even further, try to talk about the move in terms of the Entry, Execution and Exit of the move.

For example: ENTRY; when taking on a defender 1 v. 1 (scissor), go at pace, taking a touch with every step in order to pick when and where you want to perform the skill. EXECUTION; try to remain central so that you have the option to go either side when beating the defender. EXIT; as you finish the scissor, use the outside of your foot for the last touch to keep it further from the defender. Can you take your next touch back across to cut the defender up?


Laying the foundation and using a building block approach will ensure that the appropriate ball mastery and motor movements are in place that will make acquiring the new skill a little easier. Providing details and layering in information as you go can help players refine their technique as they seek to perfect the move/skill. Lastly, giving players a breakdown of how the move relates to the Entry, Execution and Exit should allow them to dissect each component and then put it all back together to apply the technique.