Muswell Hill's Number 1 Football Development Programme

 

 

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PATHWAYS FOR CHILDREN, AGES 4 TO ADULT, BOYS AND GIRLS

The following table highlights the MoF pathway for children, starting from age 4. Importantly, children can enter the pathway at any age or stage. See notes below the table for more information.  

School Key Stage School Year Ages Movement skills / Physical development Football / Futsal skills Football / Futsal competition Other sport and movement skills Play
Primary Early Years Reception 4-5 Age/stage appropriate homework - see FMS pages of website Some ready for Sunday sessions Too early for formal competition
After-school clubs, local clubs, school sport - anything with qualified coaches, lots of movement and involvement. We recommend that children practice, play and try a varied selection of sports and physical activities, rather than focus solely on football.

Play

 

Independent, child-lead, creative, unstructured play of all types (lots of time to just be a child!)

KS1 1 5-6 Sunday afternoon skill sessions - see timetable
2 6-7
KS2 3 7-8 4v4 Mini-League - see webpage
4 8-9
5 9-10
6 10-11
Secondary KS3 7 11-12 COMING SOON MoF Futsal Club - see webpage 5v5 Futsal games - as part of the boys and girls Futsal Clubs
8 12-13
9 13-14
10 14-15
11 15-16
Adult Futsal 16+ Ministry of Futsal - weekly friendly games for all adults, plus a selected team playing regular games (senior team's page)

 

The table above shows what MoF recommends for children on the programme. This pathway is based on the following core beliefs: 

  • We usually start taking children onto the MoF programme at about age 4 or 5, and only when they are ready for an hour of structured learning and play. Before this age, we don't believe there is a need for organised, structured sessions. If you have children aged 2-4, it may be better to take them to the park or playground rather than spend time and money on organised football.
  • Learning happens best by doing, not by talking about doing or waiting in a queue to have a turn. In football, small-sided games (e.g. 3v3, 4v4, 5v5) offer much more learning and development than larger formats (7v7, 9v9, 11v11) [more]
  • Structured competition (i.e. leagues and trophies) should not be the focus at young ages. Competition should be slowly introduced at later primary school ages, and is best done with short-duration, stress-free, child-friendly tournaments rather than season long leagues (the exact age may be different for different children). Children joining teams that play in leagues often find their practice and learning is focused on 'how to win' rather than 'how to learn' or 'how to improve'. Risk-taking diminishes in competitive games, and pressure increases - neither of these are conducive to long-term learning for primary school children. 
  • Football should be local. There is no need for children to be strapped to a car seat for hours in order to enjoy playing.
  • For most families, football is a small part in a much wider goal of raising healthy, happy, successful children. Studies have shown that participating in a wider variety of sports and pastimes widen the learning experience, reduce the risk of over-use injuries, and is more likely to retain children in sport into adulthood. 
  • In order to become great at playing football, it is not necessarily the case that the more football the better. It may be the case that a wider sporting experience gives children more challenge, more resourcefulness, different teachers, new physical movements, and better 'linking' from one environment to another. 
  • There is a big difference between a poor sports programme and an excellent one. Parents should seek out what works for them, shop around, and have high expectations. Move on when delivery falls consistently below what you expect. Measure your experience on your child's engagement; their progress; the quality and quantity of opportunitities they have to move and learn; the quality of teaching; and how well their individual needs are recognised and met.