Metropolitan University. Rick published his results of his research in both the FA’s Insight magazine and in a major report he complied. In the report Rick highlights the underlying philosophy of the pilot study.
‘The scheme was to re-create, as much as possible, a match day environment that was more child and player-centered. This guiding concept led the developers of the scheme to reflect upon football environments where the young player was free to learn, practice and develop their football skills without being shackled by the impo- sed structures, expectations, attentions and scrutiny of significant others. The environments, which were considered to provide these qualities the most, were the playgrounds, parks, streets, back alleyways, beaches and barrios around the world - areas where the world’s greatest players first learned their skills. At this time, Manchester United FC were re-considering their approach to the development of young players and were concerned that the overall gap in skill levels between English players and European players (and, increasingly, the rest of the world) was widening.
If true, this is an interesting situation given that one of the primary aims of the initiation of Football Academies in England was the development and enhancement of technical skills. The 4 v 4 games and format of the pilot scheme were selected because it was felt that they would give players more opportunities to practice and develop their game-related skills in a less pressurized, but nonetheless challenging game format. The environment of the pilot scheme was developed from a desire to produce a more child-cen- tered and ethical learning environment.’ A 4v4 Pilot Scheme for U9 Academy Football Players – Rick Fenoglio
The study looked at game data as well as interviews with players, coaches and parents.
The results were nothing short of staggering. Compared to the 8v8 game the data was as follows for the 4v4 games:
Number of passes – increase of 135%
Scoring attempts – increase of 260%
Number of goals scored – increase of 500%
Number of 1v1 encounters – increase of 225% Number of dribbling skills (tricks) – increase of 280%
From the interviews conducted, 80% were positive regarding the 4v4 pilot scheme and 20% were negative.
The consensus was that the children became a lot more skillful playing the 4v4 games. The games were varied which also brought out different skills. It was also not so obvious who was a defender and who was an attacker as the children became more complete footballers.
To get involved simply follow this link to register your child. It works out at only £2.50 per week or we offer a special family pass at £5 per week so all the family can play! For more information contact Tim Wareing via email, firstname.lastname@example.org or phone, 07740120788.