Academy Playing Philosophy

The Cefn Druids Academy has three training phases:
Pre-Academy Phase (U8s – U11s)
Development Phase (U12s – U16s)
Elite Phase (U19s – U23s)

The work of all Academy phases is based on the fundamentals of the Club’s philosophy and core values. Academy players are made aware of the importance of the Club’s motto “Strength, Passion, History” and encouraged at all times to adhere to this and put it into practice whenever possible.

The principles of the Club’s philosophy and core values or DNA remain the same throughout the Academy phases although, the level and detail of information increases as a player progresses through the phases. This fluidity enables all players to develop and progress successfully through the system and to ultimately reach their full potential.

All Cefn Druids FC Academy teams and individuals will demonstrate varying levels and abilities of:
Playing out from the back
Playing through the thirds
Switching play
Breaking lines
Creative and inventive play in the final 3rd
Creating goal scoring opportunities from all parts of the pitch Creating counter attacking opportunities
Creating and exploiting overloads
Pressing from the front with a high tempo
Defending as individuals, units and as a team
Defending counter attacks
Transition of play both attacking and defending
Working hard and showing the right attitude to everything the Club does

Skill Acquisition
We believe that Skill Acquisition in football is a type of learning in which repetition results in a player having a higher capability to perform a specific task, drill, skill. With enough repetition the performance of the task, drill, skill should become automatic and not require time spent thinking of the task, drill, skill or the mechanics behind it. Skill Acquisition is the science that underpins movement learning and execution of a task, drill, skill and is also known as “motor learning & control”.

Academy Skill Acquisition Programme
The Cefn Druids Academy has split the Skill Acquisition Programme into 3 stages, Cognitive Stage, Associative Stage & Autonomous Stage. These are linked into our 3 development phases of Pre-Academy Phase, Development Phase & Elite Phase. To help with transitions between each stage players are challenged and within each phase there will be a crossover of stages, so our coaches are challenging not only the squad but also the individual.

Pre-Academy Phase
The Pre-Academy Phase works within the COGNITIVE STAGE. Linked to our club Philosophy this, we believe, is the most important stage of the programme where we believe players build the foundation blocks of which football specific skills can be built upon.

Within these sessions’ players will work on a number of multi skills activities to help them develop all- round capabilities. In this stage our coaching style will allow players to make their own mistakes and allow them to learn from them. Coaches will step in when needed and offer a few ways to feedback to see if the player can learn for themselves.

Players in their final year of the Pre-Academy Phase (under 11’s) will also work within the ASSOCIATIVE STAGE, this is to help with the transition between stages and make sure our coaches are challenging the players.

Development Phase

The Development Phase works within the ASSOCIATIVE STAGE. This stage is the second stage of the Skill Acquisition journey and a crucial stage of a player’s development. Scientists believe this is the stage where players will excel and be able to step up to the next level of elite or not.

From working within the COGNITIVE STAGE players should understand movements and key skills and built up some synchronisation between the mind and the muscle. This is where we now look to build upon that synchronisation that takes place and build the speed up between brain and muscle by repetition. The more we do something the quicker and more confident we become in doing it.

Coaches feedback now becomes more structured and detailed but takes place less due to the players understanding the task, drill, skill. Players at under 16’s and some under 15’s will start to work within the AUTONOMOUS STAGE so again a seamless transition can take place. Coaches will be involved in when and where this takes place as players can not step up unless have shown an understanding of the current stage.

Elite Phase

The Elite Phase will be working within the AUTONOMOUS STAGE. Without the understanding and capability of the previous stages this stage cannot be worked upon will success.

The foundation blocks that have been put in place have to be there for players to succeed at this level. Players should now be carrying out tasks, skills, drills with a high level of intensity and quality. Now focusing on the competitive side of the game players will need to carry out a number of tasks, drills, skills by thinking for themselves.

This is where some players will shine and excel and other who maybe able to carry out an autocratic task well will struggle without that constant framework in place. Coaches will also look to develop and maintain the confidence of a player which is a key part of this stage.

Not all players will master the AUTONOMOUS STAGE, those who do will have a great opportunity to further their career within the game.