Every Child Matters: Player Development Philosophy


At Foxes FC, we believe in providing our players with a holistic development pathway from the moment they join the club. As a result, our mission is to provide our players with a player-centred football environment wherein each child:

  • - Enjoys playing the game
  • - Develops as a football player
  • - Is developed with a long term focus through age appropriate coaching
  • - Receives positive support from their coach
  • - Feels like an important part of their team, regardless of ability level
  • - Learns life skills that are important beyond the football pitch

In line with our holistic development philosophy, we view the player development process through the lens of the ‘Four Corner Model’ that is, we look to develop each player in the following ways: Physical, Technical, Tactical, and Psychological/Social. In doing so, we believe this integrated development approach will give our players the best opportunity to reach their potential, both as a sportsperson, as well as an individual.

Foxes FC coaches train their players using the Long Term Player Development Strategy (LTPD) – which is backed up by research from Europe’s most renowned youth football academies (e.g. Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Ajax). This strategy proposes a mastery-oriented focus on the development of young football players.

The LTPD has 5 distinct stages:

Stage 1: FUNdamental (6-9 years old) – At this stage, individual player development is paramount. Coaches need to create a stimulating learning environment where the atmosphere is “Freedom and Fun.”

Stage 2: Learning to Train (10-12 years old) – Skill demonstration is very important, and the players learn best by “doing.” From a psychological learning model perspective, players also move from a state of unconscious competence to becoming more self-critical and aware in terms of reflecting how to improve one’s performance (conscious competence). This is also an important time to teach basic principles of play and to establish training ethics and discipline. Repetitions are important to develop technical excellence, but creating a fun and challenging environment is still essential for stimulating learning.

Stage 3: Training to Train (13-15 years old) – The demands of skill training as well as time required for training should increase, resulting in improvements in mental resilience, concentration and stamina. Awareness of tactics within the game becomes an important facet of the learning process. Players tend to be self-critical and rebellious, but they have a strong commitment to the team.

Stage 4: Training to Compete (16-18 years old) – Athletes who are now proficient at performing basic and football-specific skills are working to gain more game maturity as they learn to perform these skills under a variety of competitive conditions.

Stage 5: Training to Win (18+ years old) - The majority, if not all, of the player’s physical, technical, tactical, and psychological qualities are now fully established, and the focus of training has shifted to optimisation of performance. They may still require additional tactical experience in high-pressure games to develop consistency. The focus is on the maximisation of all capacities.