Fun comes first in the new six-step FFA coaching method

Football Federation Australia (FFA) is presenting an alternative form of coaching for children aged 9-12 which puts fun at the forefront of football.

The Skill Acquisition Phase Game-Intervention-Game (SAP GIG) methodology aims to present game-based practical sessions that are inclusive of all Australian girls and boys aged who have a passion and interest to play football.

The SAP GIG methodology puts the desire of children to play games at the forefront of a training session, focusing on developing the following core skills: 

  • First touch
  • Striking the ball
  • Running with the ball
  • 1v1's

The SAP GIG methodology is broken down into six steps pictured below:


Read on to see how you can implement the six steps of the SAP GIG methodology to refine the core skills of children aged 9-12 in a fun-oriented way: 

Step 1: FUNctional Activity (linked to Core Skill)

Begin the session with a fun activity with lots of football specific movements in the first 5-10 minutes of the practical session.

This fun activity should involve all players, encouraging the children to perform core skills at a high speed and set the tone for the remainder of the session.

The focus of this activity is to develop fundamental movement actions at high speed, and can include games, circuits or juggling tasks that are both fun and linked to a core skill.

Step 2: Game (recognition phase)

This is a free game without restrictions which adheres to the general rules of a football game.

After five minutes where players are encouraged to showcase freedom of expression, the coach can introduce an incentive to encourage certain actions. For example, awarding three points to a player who can beat an opponent in a 1v1 duel.

This encourages players to engage in more 1v1 duels but still allows them to make decisions appropriate to the situation for themselves as a goal scored in any other way is still worth one point.

Step 3: Mini-games application

This is where a session breaks down into working on the sub-phases of football focused around repeatedly practicing a core skill.

These mini-games should ideally be organised between 2-4 players to maximise practice attempts, and require a scoring objective for all players (including goalkeepers), and closely resemble the conditions of the real game.

Step four: Intervention (skill breakdown)

When children are engaged in the mini-games and refining their core skills, coaches receive the opportunity to breakdown these core skills between games to develop or refine technical competence.

Demonstrations by the coach or a model player are encouraged to support learning functional technical skills.

Step five: Free game (evaluation phase)

The children return to playing a free game without restrictions in the fifth phase of the SAP GIG methodology.

In this phase the coach creates a game free of any specific conditions or incentives to measure rate of learning and understanding.

Coaches are advised to coach on the run by offering praise and encouragement for the desired actions of the session without stopping the game.

Coaches can measure the rate of learning and understanding by seeing if the children are applying the core skill focused on throughout the session.

Step six: Home-skill

The final stage of the SAP GIG methodology is providing children the opportunity to practice at home to work on improving their functional skills.

Step six is about encouraging kids who want to expand their game to work on particular skills on their own which will then help them when it comes to playing games and training, because they’ve got more skills in their back pocket.