NLFC Policy – Player Development

Introduction

This Policy illustrates New Lambton FC’s commitment to player development from Under 6 through to premier division teams.

While each of the New Lambton FC football programs (Inter district, Premier Men and Premier Women) play a significant role in implementing quality development programs, New Lambton FC acknowledges that player’s development is not the sole responsible of the individual football programs – it is a club wide concern – as poor player development in junior ranks will not only affect where parents chose to register their children at a young age, restrict player ambition, but ultimately the quality of players in our premier teams.

Aims and Objectives

This Policy aims to help New Lambton FC make appropriate decisions about our Club’s approach to player development. Fundamentally, is building a competitive club ‘bottom up’ that supports the Club’s Community Football objectives and also an achievement of ‘development club’ rather than a ‘buying club’ in the Premier Competition environment.

New Lambton FC supports implementation of the National Football Curriculum. The Curriculum distinguishes 6 Building Blocks, which aim to:

  • Instil a lifelong passion and love for football in young players
  • Create a real ‘football culture’ in Australia
  • Develop technically proficient players
  • Develop tactically aware, proactive players
  • Transform the physical and direct style of youth football in Australia to a successful style based upon technique and creativity

Supported by the implementation of other New Lambton FC policies (e.g. Code of Conduct), the result of this approach will support the creation of higher levels of engagement, enjoyment and development in our members.

In supporting player development and connecting coaching methodologies with the FFA Curriculum there are 4 key phases in the New Lambton FC player development program:

  1. The Discovery Phase – age 6-8
  2. The Skill Acquisition Phase – age 9-13
  3. The Game Training Phase age 14-17
  4. The Performance Phase – age 17 +

It is apparent that the quality of practice is vital although time should be invested in non-organised practice, such as playing with mates in the park or juggling a ball in the back yard, is at least as important.  Therefore, the importance of providing our volunteer coaches the appropriate resources and creating an environment where football is fun is of critical importance to NLFC in achieving its vision and objectives.

Motivation

It’s important to realise that it is impossible to ‘impose’ motivation. Pushy parents or coaches will achieve nothing (or the opposite of what they are looking for) if it isn’t the player’s own choice.

To positively affect this area, New Lambton FC’s overarching fundamental approach to motivate players is to:

  • Praise effort – not ‘talent’
  • Emphasise that abilities can be transformed – through application
  • Emphasise that challenges are learning opportunities – instead of threats

While coaches may plan to grow their own development, it must be noted, that New Lambton FC hosts players highly varied levels of ability and self-motivation – some kids just want to play and enjoy football. It is important for coaches and New Lambton FC to assist in coach/team matching to ensure that club culture and objectives are not challenged unnecessarily.

Coaching Coordination

Quality of practice is clearly contingent on the importance of good coaching. Good coaching means purposeful practice and quality feedback.

Purposeful practice is always aimed at progress: after all, only by working at what you can’t do will you turn into the player you might want to become. And quality feedback is the rocket fuel that propels learning. Without it, no amount of practice is going to get you there because “if you don’t know what you are doing wrong you can never know what you are doing right”. Good coaches are therefore able to design practice so that feedback is embedded in the exercise, leading to automatic adjustment.

While New Lambton FC promotes our coaching staff attending and obtaining formal coaching qualifications – we know this is not always possible in a volunteer capacity.  Therefore, to assist our coaches deliver quality practice sessions, the following coaching material has been developed and available both on the New Lambton FC website and Club APP:

Additionally, New Lambton FC football programs will arrange voluntary coach awareness sessions several times throughout the season, delivered by the Club to embed Club technical expectations and support material into our approach.

Phases of Development

Phase Discovery Phase Skill Acquisition Phase Game Training Phase Performance Phase
Age 6-9 years 10-13 years 14-17 years 17+
Fundamentals No ‘coaching’ but organising fun football exercisesNatural development: ‘learn FOOTBALL by playing football’Emphasis on building a love of the game.   Focuses on developing four core skills when in possession of the ball: First Touch1v1Running with the ball Striking the ball   In possession of the ball (BP): Playing out from the backMidfield playAttacking When the opponent is in possession of the ball (BPO): Disturbing/pressuringDefending/recapturing the ball Prepare teams for a competitive environment where winning has become the main aimTrain to focus on solving football problems, based on match analysisIntegrate FOOTBALL CONDITIONING as a key part of the program
Training sessions Weekly training sessions of 45 minutes Max 2-3 sessions/week of 60-75 minutes Max 3 sessions of 75-90 minutes Max 4 sessions of 75-90 minutes
Support Material NLFC Coaching Manual: Discovery Phase NLFC Coaching Manual:            Skill Acquisition Phase NLFC Coaching Manual:            Game Phase NLFC Coaching Manual:    Performance Phase
Training Location 6/7 yrs – Hockey Centre 8/9 yrs – Alder Park 10/11 yrs – Novo/Regent Park 12/13 yrs – Novo Park Novo Park Interdistrict – Novo Park Premier Groups – Hockey Centre & Novo Park

Player Development

As a leading club, it is our duty to provide structured development opportunities to ‘community’ based teams and players, but also, we must have the ability to offer those players showing increased ability and interest, the opportunity to grow and develop their footballing skills in a higher level of competition.

The matrix below illustrates the different development opportunities available to players in the New Lambton FC club. In short, New Lambton FC aims to increase the overall level of ability across the club through the introduction of coaching technical support and making available professional coaching clinics for all players – 6 years old through to Premier League. 

Holiday Clinics

Clinics are delivered during the Christmas (late January), Easter and July School Holidays as an opportunity for boys and girls to develop their skills in a fun and social environment.

In recognition of the different learning environments needed for boys and girls, separate clinics will be delivered for boys and girls.

Clinics will be coordinated by the Club’s Player Development Coordinator and delivered by New Lambton FC WPL and/or NEWFM First Grade players – at a ratio of 1 coach per max 15 players. The Club may also invite high profile coaches/players to assist in the implementation of these programs.

New Lambton FC will charge an appropriate fee per participant to cover coaching, ground hire, gear and administrative costs.

Coordinated “Fun Play”

In our youngest age groups (Under 6 &7), New Lambton FC do not deliver traditional “training sessions” as may be delivered to older players.  The Discovery Phase within these age groups will be delivered through coordinated training based around “fun play” for this age group, using the following fundamentals;

  • No ‘coaching’ but organised fun football exercises
  • Natural development: ‘learn FOOTBALL by playing football’
  • Emphasis on building a love of the game.

The technical content of the program will be developed by the Club’s Player Development Coordinator and delivered by New Lambton FC WPL or NEWFM First Grade players.

“Fun Play” sessions will be coordinated by a professional coach – and delivered at a ratio of 1 coach per max 15 players.   The importance of engaging parents at this age group must not be underestimated.  Therefore, parents will be encouraged to assist in delivery of these sessions.

These sessions will be delivered over an appropriate number of nights – to cater for the target population – based on 1 session of 45 minutes per team.

Skills Development

To provide for the development of players and coaches across the age groups – both pre and mid-season, New Lambton will deliver structured sessions for identified age groups. 

Sessions will be endorsed by the Club’s Player Development Coordinator and delivered by New Lambton FC WPL or NEWFM First Grade players – at a ratio of 1 coach per max 15 players. 

First team players will be made available 3 nights a week (based on take-up) and teams may book sessions via a schedule hosted on the New Lambton FC Website.

New Lambton FC will charge an appropriate fee per participant to cover coaching, gear and administrative costs.

Summer Programs

Football as a sport is quickly emerging as a 12 month a year sport – with the inclusion of Futsal, small sided competitions etc.  Pressure is also on many clubs to continue developing players between seasons to maintain healthy levels of success within competition teams.

The Summer Programs are specifically designed and delivered in separate boys and girls programs.

The technical content of the program will be endorsed by the Club’s Player Development Coordinator. Sessions will be delivered by New Lambton FC WPL or NEWFM First Grade players – at a ratio of 1 coach per max 15 players. 

New Lambton FC will charge an appropriate fee per participant to cover coaching, gear and administrative costs.

Developing Eagles

The NLFC Player Development Pathway identifies clear and consistent pathways for player development within the Club. The pathway reflects the transition through Community Football, graded competition, Zone through to WPL and NEWFM. 

The Developing Eagles program is managed the Club’s Premier Groups (WPL and NEWFM) and provides the opportunity to identify the best Under 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 year olds and harnesses them into a program overseen by the Club’s Player Development Coordinator and the Premier Group Football Managers (WPL and NEWFM), with implementation assistance by First Grade players from both WPL and NEWFM teams.

Additionally, the Program seeks to build on the  program (discussed above) to follow the development of those Under 13’s and above players/teams competing in “A or B Grade” for New Lambton FC in preparation for potential selection in the Club’s Premier teams – WPL or NEWFM.

New Lambton FC will charge an appropriate fee per participant to cover coaching, ground hire, gear and administrative costs.

Full details regarding the Developing Eagles Program are found in the document of the same name on the New Lambton FC website.

Appointment of Technical Directors (WPL and NEWFM)

While technical development across the club is of absolute importance, success will not be at the expense of club culture and achieving club objectives.

Continuation of development into the Club’s WPL and NEWFM teams and providing these teams with an opportunity to experience higher levels of expectation, is of absolute necessity.

To facilitate this, New Lambton FC will deliver the following measures to ensure that development continue throughout a player’s career. 

  • Appointment of a quality and qualified Technical Director to oversee NEWFM and WPL player development
  • Appointment of a quality and qualified First Grade Coach
  • Implementation of (available on the Club TEAM APP):
  • Coach development sessions and coaching performance reviews – delivered by the Club’s Player Development Coordinator.
  • Player performance reviews built upon information gathered in trial process – delivered by the relevant Technical Director.

Appointment of Technical Directors:

The appointment of the Club’s Technical Directors will occur following:

  • Consultation with NNSW Football
  • The development (or review) of the Position Description for the Technical Director.
  • Formal advertising in the wider community in order to identify the best possible candidate(s)
  • Assessment of each candidate against the key selection criteria listed in the Position Description
  • Interviews with suitable candidates coordinated by the Club Chairman with invited panel members (3 panellists in total)
  • Reference checks of the preferred applicant.

Persons applying for the position of Technical Director who will be excluded include:

  • Coaches currently under suspension by any regional, state or national governing body
  • Persons who cannot satisfy mandatory working with children checks
  • Coaches involved in coaching at another club that has teams within NNSW Premier Competitions.

All records relating to selection of coaching staff are to be kept by the New Lambton FC Chairman for a period of two years, then archived.

The Technical Director’s performance will be measured annually against the performance criteria listed in the New Lambton FC Position Description: Technical Director.

Disputes

New Lambton FC will address and resolve parent and player concerns promptly.

In the event of a dispute, the player and/or parent/carer may write to the relevant Technical Director outlining their grievance with relevant information/evidence supporting their claim(s). This is to be no more than 250 words.

The New Lambton FC Technical Director will assess all disputes and will provide a decision to the player and/or parent/carer within 7 days of receiving the letter.

It the dispute is unable to be resolved by the Technical Director, the matter may be submitted for appealed to the New Lambton FC Board for settlement.  This decision will be final and no subsequent appeals will be considered.

Policy Review

This policy will be reviewed bi-monthly for the first year and then annually thereafter to ensure it remains relevant to club operations and reflects both community expectations and legal requirements.