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Intro to MoF

MoF Values

Coach Development

MoF Coach Meetings


An MoF Coach

As well as being punctual and reliable, these are

qualities that MoF coaches should have and be growing:


Assessing player needs

A learning coach


The MoF Session Checklist



The 7 things that a MoF session must have:

Problem statement

Session plan

Game-based learning

Simple, varied activities

High 'Active Learning Time'

Fair, fun, inclusive behaviours

Uninterrupted games (joy & flow)


5 key inputs into the session of an expert MoF coach:

Coaching interventions

Managing difference

Child collaboration and problem solving

Providing feedback to children

Bridging learning



Futsal Club

4pm Red class



End of session de-brief

Assistant coaches



Muswell Hill's Number 1 Football Development Programme



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An introduction to the MoF programme can be found here.

We use assistant coaches at MoF to work alongside the Lead Coach and help deliver our sessions.We do this because we believe that our ability to help children be safe; play well together; and learn together, will be enhanced with a higher coach:child ratio.

Assistant coaches work on a voluntary basis. They will need to be DBS checked. They are not expected to plan sessions or lead sessions. They will need to sign a contract declaring that they have read the MoF Child Protection policies and related documentation, and that they have completed MoF Child Protection training.

In exchange for their time and efforts, we hope the assistant coaches will learn a lot from their time at MoF. We want to help beginner coaches to learn and become better at what they do. Our team of Lead Coaches are experienced at helping coaches learn.

Ideally every MoF group will have a Lead Coach and an assistant coach.

Working with the same groups each week

Ideally, assistant coaches should work with the same MoF group each week. There are three main benefits to this:

  1. They get to know the children, and the children get to know them. This building of a connection and relationship with the group is important so that the children learn to trust the coach, to listen respectfully, and to take coaching on-board.
  2. They can work with the same Lead Coach each week. This helps as the Lead Coach understands the assistant's areas for learning, and provide consistent and progressive mentoring and tutoring. 
  3. They can see the progression of a unit of work with the same group, and learn from how the Lead Coach builds new learning onto previous learning.

Understanding the unit and Problem Statements

In order to help the assistant coach, they need to understand the unit of work that the group is working on. The Lead Coach should be able to explain what Problem Statements they are working on, and the assistant can then get a good idea of what the group will be working on.

There is a table of Problem Statements and coaching points available at the bottom of the Problems Statements page.

How the assistant coach can help and what their role is

The info below outlines the ways in which the assistant coach can help us deliver better sessions:

1. Connecting with the children in the group

  • Learn and use names
  • Welcome the children using their names as they arrive to the warm-up or arrival activity at the start of the session
  • High-5 or say "Well done" to children who do something well (younger age-groups only)
  • Any new children on their first session may need particular help, encouragement and support

2. Supporting good behaviours

Children need to be focused in order to learn. Generally, we don't have issues with poor behaviours at MoF, but the assistant coach can help reinforce good learning beahviours by:

  • If they see children nattering when they should be playing or moving, then remind them.
  • If they see children not listening when they should be, then go and sit with them.
  • If they see children not included in game or collaborative activities, then go in and ask the group to include them, and stay to make sure this happens.
  • if they see any other non-sharing, disrespectful or unsafe behaviour, then challenge it and stop it from happening.

3. Moving and storing equipment

We need the following help:

  • Before the start of the first session, we need help getting the equipment from the storage unit, setting up goals, tidying up the hall etc, and preparing the venue for the sessions to begin.
  • During and between sessions, we need help clearing things away, moving equipment that is not being used back to the coaches bench area.
  • During sessions, the Lead Coach may ask for help setting up small-sided game areas, or help putting bibs on children.
  • Towards the end of the last session of the day, we need to start packing equipment away and tidying up. After the last session, all equipment needs to be put away. 

4. Helping manage 'link' activities

Link activities are the activities which happen between the main activities of a session. An example would be the arrival activity which children take part in when they first arrive at the session, or what they do when they return from a drink break. The effective running of these link activities is vital for a successful session.

The assistant coach can help by:

  • Getting involved in the arrival activity. Show children arriving what they need to do. Remind children of the activity if they forget.
  • Help children find a partner if they need one.
  • Ensure that children returning from a drink break get straight into the link activity, and do it correctly.

Once confident and able, the assistant coach may be asked to run an arrival activity, or instruct and manage the post-drink break link activity, under the supervision of an assistant coach. They should use the music system to help them control the group (music on is the children's time to be physically active, music off is the coaches time to talk and instruct).

What makes a good link activity or arrival activity?

  • Something that is easy and quick to explain, so intervention time is short
  • Something that children can do on their own, or with a partner, so they don't need to wait for others to arrive
  • Something that can be progressed if needed, to make it more difficult for those who find it easy
  • Something with a ball, with football movements, appropriate to the age/stage of the group

So for example: Juggling and juggling combinations, technical moves such as turns or changes of directions, passes against a wall, tennis with a partner, follow the leader games.

5. Managing games

MoF uses small-sided games to help children enjoy playing and learning. Typically, these could include two 3v3 games going on side-by-side. The games are often modified or constrained in order to help children learn within a particular area. The assistant coach can help by:

  • Listening to the Lead Coach instructions for the game and make sure these are understood and followed by the children
  • Make sure there is no tackling between the red line and the wall area (we restrict tackling in this area as it is potentially dangerous)
  • Make sure the children play safely together, and there is no cheating, teasing or disrespectful behaviour (e.g. make sure players allow space for a sideline ball to be played in)
  • If GKs are used, make sure all children take it in turns to play GK
  • If the ball goes far from the pitch, then pass a new ball into someone's feet and shout "New Ball!". This helps maintain the intensity of the game. Assistant coaches should always have a ball in their hands in order to do this.

6. Monitoring and evaluating sessions

There are two ways which we collect and provide data on MoF sessions:

  • Measuring Active Learning Time (ALT)
  • Measuring coach individual interventions (CII)

Guidance on this can be found at the links below. Assistant coaches can usefully spend a session measuring ALT or CII and providing this feedback to the Lead Coach at the end of the session. The assistant coach can learn a lot from this process.

ALT: See High Active Learning Time page, and see the Measuring ALT download. 

CII: See the Providing Feedback page.

Training will be given on these types of session observation.

7. Helping coach individuals

It is the Lead Coach's responsibility to teach children. However, there may be times when the assistant coach can also get involved in providing some coaching. This should be discussed with the Lead Coach, who should be able to tell the assistant what areas to focus on. Typically, this will be to remind children of previous learning, so for example if the topic is 'Stay on the Ball' and a child boots the ball down the pitch without thinking, then the assistant coach could usefully remind  the child what they have already been taught.

Other ways the assistant can get involved in coaching children at MoF sessions:

  • During arrival activity or other link activity, support individuals with technical help. So stop a child who is struggling and show them how they could do the task better.
  • Identify children who are finding the arrival or link activity easy, and offer them a greater challenge

Over time, should the assistant coach develop the necessary confidence and ability, they could potentially get to a stage of co-coaching a session alongside the Lead Coach. This might work best if the session is jointly planned, and the Lead and assistant decide which parts of the session each will deliver. The Lead Coach can then help the assistant out and step-in should they need support. 

Assistant Coach Development Programme

It would be a very good idea for each assistant coach to compile a set of development goals which briefly describe which areas (of the above) they would like to improve in and get better at. This needn't be more than a few sentences and, when shared with the Lead Coaches, this should provide info needed to help the assistant coach develop and track progress. (Of course, these goals should be updated as their journey progresses).