The core of the Skjold model is that we don’t believe that we at an early age can predict who will be on tomorrow's national team or be playing at the highest level. Our primary purpose both from a social perspective, and for talent development purposes is to get as many as possible to train as much as possible at the highest possible level, and keep going for as long as possible. We therefore do not operate with traditional selection either.
- In U5-U8, the children are not divided into teams or groups at all. Everyone receives the same basic offer with two weekly training sessions, led by qualified training leaders with knowledge of Skjold's principles and concepts.
- The training is station training without a fixed level division, where the training leader is supported primarily by parent trainers and youth trainers.
- All children can sign up for the same, regular matches / activities led by parents / youth coaches, who are continuously instructed in the behavior and attitudes of the sports manager for the 3-a-side and 5-a-side segment.
- From U9, children and parents are asked to choose between ‘Extra’ or ‘Basic’ training.
- The Basic offer is a continuation of the previous level, while the ‘Extra’ program involves a third weekly “Enthusiast” training, led by the child development training and a team of specially qualified coaches, as well as several matches and competitions / activities.
- There is no distinction to level, but the Extra offer entails a new counter-requirement for attendance and commitment to training and matches, active unsubscribing, etc.
- In the Extra groups in the 8-a-side segment, we still don’t use permanent match teams, but match teams are introduced instead of free registration, and an external head coach is introduced, who is the training manager for at least one training session per week. The external coach is also responsible for team selection for matches and match coach for the highest ranked match team on weekends.
- Switching from Basic to Extra groups now presupposes that you show an appropriate attendance and commitment in the Basic department over a period of time. No distinction is made to level.
- With the transition to 11-a-side football, the responsibility for Enthusiast training passes to the youth development coach and his team, including a physical trainer.
- We are still working with a large Basic and a large Extra group in the different age groups for training and there is still a call for great rotation between match playing teams, but the coaches can increasingly operate with more permanent match playing teams.
Independence, courage, enthusiasm
BK Skjold wants to develop players who have a clear Skjold character rather than players who can play a special system or follow a special playing strategy. We want to create independent, brave and enthusiastic football players, because it reflects the club values. We want our coaches to create a framework that stimulates independence, courage and enthusiasm in our players.
We want players who can think and act on their own, even in chaotic and pressured situations. We always do exercises with a specific direction in an open framework. The players have a specific goal to play against, but in an open framework that forces them to reflect and act based on the situations they encounter. We stimulate the players' opportunities to make decisions in open games, rather than more formal exercises where the outcome is known in advance. We want the players to take responsibility for their own learning and development. We set up challenging frameworks that fit the players development curve, and we support players asking about or reflecting on their own and others practices and take co-responsibility for their own learning.
We want to see players who dare to fail both in training and matches. They must be risk-averse
and robust enough to repair and learn from their mistakes and dare to try again. We want players who dare to make a difference with and without the ball, including putting themselves in match-winning situations. We therefore set up customized challenges and are clearly positively reinforcing in both behavior and language when players fail and still try. Our coaches must have a dialogue with our players about the individual's strength and focus on what the individual is doing well. We like to start a dialogue from what the individual player makes of goals through football.
We want the players to show ambition and aggression to both training and matches, both in terms of intensity in duels and pressure and willingness to run. Through co-responsibility and stimulation of good habits, we develop a training framework that accommodates aggression and ambition. We want the players to train in custom rounds so that the players can keep the intensity of the games. In this way, we stimulate the good habits of being aggressive and ambitious. We strive for a training with few breaks, high tempo, flow with few interruptions. We reward willingness to train and, for example, do not select players for the top team at the weekend if they have not trained well and stably in the previous week, regardless of level.
How do we train to achieve the goals for our game concept?
- Play: The exercises must be the platform to unleash the imagination. The players will act as airplanes, avoid volcanoes on the pitch and watch out for the adults, acting as catchers.
- Visually: Exercises with color codes, the kids will learn how to make a choice after an optical challenge. An example could be, jump in to the correct coloured ring when the coach gives you the signal.
- Coordination: Early on the players will learn how to crawl, jump and do rollovers. The more motoric educated the players are from the beginning, the better they will learn new movements with the ball when they reach the next step in their development.
- Confidence with ball: The players will be introduced to different ways of handling the ball. We do not expect them to be experts with the ball from the beginning, but we want to teach them how you use different parts of the feet to move the ball with. We teach them from a young age to use the “weak” leg as well.
- Involvement of parents: The parents will help their own child throughout the practice. We use parents as coaches to inspire them to become volunteers and to give them exercises they can use at home.
- Match: Lots of matches: 1V1, 2V2 and a maximum of 3V3. The match is the best exercise. This is the creative space for our players, here they are allowed to explore football by themselves without any correct answer on how to do it.
Who ensures that training and matches contributes to achieving the goals of our game concept?
- A head coach plans and performs the training. The head coach has knowledge of our principles and game concept, and the age-appropriate sub-goals when we train the youngest. The head coach is also in close contact with the sports manager of the 3-5 segment.
- The coordinator is responsible for translating our principles and to spread the knowledge about “the Skjold model” to the parents. The coordinator is in close contact with the sports manager from the 3-5 segment
- The assistant coach is often a younger coach or a parent, who will help throughout the practice. It’s our philosophy to educate younger players to be coaches. Here they must have co-influence and responsibility - as well as a head coach who is skilled and mature enough to educate the younger coach.
How do we practice to reach the goals of our playing style?
- The relations in game: We start by training the players in teamwork, but are also aiming to make the players equipped to manage themselves in the game.
- The right choice: We train the players to look up and make a decision, whether it is a good idea to dribble or to pass the ball. We want the players to make the decision, and if the decision is correct or wrong is not what the coach is noticing. A player is getting praise from the coach by making a decision.
- Tricks and dribbles: We train the players different dribbles, feints and tricks. We do this so the players can experience the joy by learning new things. This is done so the players love for football can grow.
- The wide physical learning: We start to include other sports into our practice. We do this to give our players a better way to move their body. Our cooperation with a parkour organisation through BK Skjold gives our players a great advantage.
- To practice: We make sure that our players make an effort when they practice. You come to practice to learn and that combined with own strengths, will help overcome the challenges
- The smart footballer: We begin to train the players in solutions to different situations through playing, because we think it is the best way to learn. Our footballing strategy is towards the opposition's goal but without a decidedly endgame, because there can be many ways to score a goal. The coach’s job is to question the solutions the players pick during the game and make the player think about the decision after the game.
- The brave footballer: We want to make a environment where the players want to be on the ball and make a difference. That's why we are training our players to succeed with very few touches but also with several touches on the ball. One of our theses is that practice should be more difficult than an actual game. Therefore we do a lot of 1v2 or 2v3 practice because the demand to be a successful footballer is raised that way.
- Practice/Match: Our coaches and players have to understand that a match is also part of the practice. It is important that players are brave enough to try what they have learned in practice but also include new elements to their game. The speed of the game will be the most essential difference to practice and a match.
- Open-minded: You accept your teammates differences, you have each others back in all situations and you listen when your teammates or your coach is talking to you
- Selection: When we are pairing up to practice or to a match, we are looking at parameters such as motivation, concentration and level. It is okay to take the best players aside to train them to improve their skills as well. That is to help the best players but also the less good players, so they can be calm in playing their own game at their own tempo. But most of all, we will practice across different levels because we think that everyone benefits the most by taking different roles and playing against different levels.
Who makes sure that practice and matches contribute to reach the goals in our strategy for the game?
- There will be in all “Extra” squads in U10-U12 be an external head coach, with formal DBU-coaching licenses, which is the demand to preserve one licensstar.
- The head coach is primarily responsible for the practice follows our principles and strategy and the age-appropriate sub-goals. The head coach is in charge of the practice at least one training session each week but is also in close contact to the other coaches in the group.
- The Child Development Coach is in charge of the so called “enthusiast-training” one time a week together with his own team of coaches and have direct opportunity to make practices that can make players and coaches understand the clubs principles and strategy.
- There can also be training leaders besides the Head Coach and the Child Development Coach who plans and execute the practice. The Training Leader has to know about our principles and concept and the age-appropriate sub-goal and to be in close contact with the Head-coach.
- Co-trainers often exist of young coaches and ‘parent-coaches’ who help execute the practice.
- External coaches are often used. We gather inspiration from other sports and we are therefore inviting other coaches from external clubs and associations to inspire our players in other sports. BK Skjold can therefore offer an varied everyday to the players a wide foundation to build on.
How do we train to achieve the goals of our game concept?
- Here we work more with complete 11-a-side games. We play bigger games for training and teach our players to solve the game in groups and as teams. We are constantly working to give our players new tools or skills, but now they are training to use their skills in the game on the bigger pitch.
- We break the training down into smaller elements such as breakthrough games, press games, etc., in order to give each individual player more and varied repetitions. In this way, we can provide insight into different facets of the game, keep intensity and provide varied challenges in different game positions and locations on the field.
- We start working with our players through physical training. Once a week, there will be a physical trainer who primarily works with injury prevention and stability training. Furthermore, he will train the players in basic understanding of their own body and how to take care of it.
- Through the individual player development, the players are coached in identifying their own and their teammates and opponents core competences. The increased awareness must strengthen the players 'ability to put themselves in the most fruitful situations, while at the same time keeping an eye on others' opportunities to put theirs in play.
- We cultivate the team's development, just like the players' own. We have an expectation that the players participate and take responsibility for the team's development. This does not just happen in training, where we practice putting skills together in a team context, but also outside of the field where we are trying to develop our common understanding of each other.
- The players are therefore also trained in how their own and the team's expression appears. Like accepting the facets of the community, it is essential to be able to focus on one's own development. We therefore put varied and planned mental challenges to training in order to evaluate and coach the players towards resilience.
Who ensures that training and matches contribute to achieving the goals of our game concept?
- All “Extra” departments in U13-U19 will be affiliated with an external head coach who has the formal DBU licenses required to obtain and retain at least one license star.
- The head coach is primarily responsible for the training following our principles and game concept and the age-appropriate sub-goals. The head coach is himself the training leader on at least one training session a week and is in close contact with the youth development coach and co-coaches.
- The youth development coach is himself the training leader at the so-called “Enthusiast- training” once a week with his own team of coaches - including a physical trainer - and here has the direct opportunity to make trainings that can make both players and coaches in the segment aware of the club's principles and game concept.
- There may also be training leaders in addition to the head coach and the child development coach who plan and perform training. In that case, the training manager must have knowledge of our principles and game concept and the age-appropriate sub-goals and be in close contact with the head coach.
Exercises and inspiration
The child development coach and the youth development coach have the task of continuously sparring with the coaches in their segments, and the so-called “enthusiast-trainings” on Tuesdays and Wednesdays serve as direct inspiration for the coaches in the segment.
We at BK Skjold also work on a system for sharing specific exercises that support our ideas for good children's training, just as we have an ambition to create a youtube channel with recordings of our own training that can serve as inspiration.
Until then, you have some databases where you can search for exercises that, for example, support a playful approach, 1v1 situations, aggressive pressure and some of the other keywords we use in our manual. There are also some videos below where you can actually get help in instructing the very basic skills.