21 DOP

21 Days of Positivity Messages for Coaches

Throughout The FA’s 21 Days of Positivity campaign, a number of top-tips, tasks and take-home messages have been delivered to coaches to ensure their football environment is a positive one.

To ensure coaches in Northamptonshire don’t miss out on any of these messages, we’ve put together a full round-up of the 21-day campaign below. For further information about each topic, please follow the blue hyperlinks.


Enjoyment and positivity

A positive experience of football can help inspire the lives of young people and begin a life-long love of the game.

How well do you know your players?

Relationships are key to a positive coaching environment – therefore it is crucial you spend time getting to know your players.

This is a safe place

Making mistakes is all part of learning how to play the game. Because of this, it is crucial that you let players know your football environment is a safe place for creativity and experimentation.

What do your players want from training?

Young players play football because they like to “try their hardest”, “because it’s fun” and because they “love it” -  but does your coaching allow players to feel these things?


Arrival activities: Get the players moving

When coaching in winter weather it is crucial to keep the players active and engaged. As soon as the players arrive, get them moving. Tag, small-sided games or movement activities are all fun, engaging and active ways to start your session.

Routines and boundaries

Having consistent coaching routines can help create a safe place for young players to learn.

“When are we playing a game?”

One of the main reasons young players go to training is to a play a game. So, give the players what they want.

How to include your goalkeeper in coaching sessions

During training sessions goalkeepers are often left to stand in goal whilst everyone else blasts balls at them. Your goalkeeper shouldn’t be the forgotten player in your training session. Think about how you can include your goalkeeper in all activities and create individual challenges to increase their enjoyment.


One size doesn’t fit all

Football players come in all different sizes and strengths with varied skills and abilities. To get the most out of each individual try tailoring your training tasks for specific players.

How to work as a coaching pair

If you are fortunate to work as part of a coaching pair, you have a fantastic opportunity to support individual players in your group. Defining coaching roles is crucial. If one coach ‘leads’ the session, the other coach is free to focus on individuals.

Effective observation

At your next training session, challenge yourself to stand back, in silence, and watch the players play. Adopting a less direct and vocal role can help you see the players in a new light and make your feedback more specific. 

Communication styles

Young players all learn in different ways and at different rates. How you communicate your football ideas to the group is key to this process. Using a variety of communication methods is one way you can cater for the different needs in your group. Sometimes your voice isn’t enough.

Countdown to kick-off

Before each game young players should be given the chance to:

- Spend social time with their teammates
- Link training themes to the game
- Discuss the team challenges for the day
- Think about their own individual challenge
- Warm-up effectively


Half-time is a great opportunity to ask the players for their thoughts on the game and remind them of the team and individual challenges for the day.


The end of the game is a chance for you to help the players make sense of the matchday experience. This should involve highlighting positive moments and providing any constructive feedback on the challenges that were set for the day.


Congratulations for completing The FA Respect 21 days of positivity challenge. We hope that you have found the positive hints, tips and challenges useful and are already applying this to your weekly routine.

The link below will give you the chance to reflect upon the past 21 days and would be really helpful for us to get your feedback.

Also included in the link is the opt in to our competition to win a Nike team kit and coach bundle so please make sure you tick the box to enter.


Creating positive experiences for your players is so important and we thank you for all your support for the FA Respect campaign.

The FA has created a poster which will help you recap the theme for each of the 21 days. To find this and all other Respect resources, simply CLICK HERE

Join in the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #WeOnlyDoPositive