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Blog: Women's Football Group Development Fund

Women’s Football decided to apply for the group development fund because we were struggling to run effective training sessions on Tuesdays. Traditionally our Tuesday training sessions are ‘club’ training sessions where all members focus on footwork and ball skills. These sessions are important to us because they are a chance for all members to integrate, socialise and play football as one club, rather than just in our teams.

However, this season we had been struggling to make these sessions effective for all members. We had record highest number of members join the club this year with consistently 35+ members coming to every Tuesday training session.

As amazing as having a high intake of members was, it did throw up some problems for our Tuesday training sessions, as ideally for that number of members we would have needed more than 2 coaches and a larger area to train on. The situation was made more difficult as our kit was being taken and used by other, unknown groups, and so for a few weeks we were missing cones, bibs and many balls.

As a result, most of our members were finding Tuesday training sessions frustrating and we began to notice a reduction in the number of members we would have coming.

So What's New?

After many discussions with our coaches, we decided that setting up Tuesday training sessions as a circuit of footwork or skill-based drills would be the best way forward. This would allow the small space to be used more efficiently, our coaches would be able to coach smaller groups more manageably, and most importantly our members would spend more time playing football and less time standing around.

We wanted these drills to really challenge our members and allow them to develop their footwork and ball skills. Hence, we decided to apply to for Group Development Fund so that we could buy some slalom poles and rebound nets to upgrade and revamp our drills.

New Equipment

We were all very excited to find out that the Student’s Union had accepted our application and awarded us the full amount to purchase the new slalom poles and rebound nets. In our first training session our coach Chloe really put the new equipment and us to the test with a challenging agility, dribbling and shooting from a volley drill.

 

We were all knackered afterwards but loved using the new equipment even though the bounce off the rebound net was a little tricky to get used to at first. Since then we have used the equipment in every training session and are enjoying incorporating the equipment into our usual drills as well as trying out new and different drills.

In the next couple of sessions, we are going to experiment with using the rebound nets to help train our goal keepers, as currently the keepers spend a lot of time focusing on skills such as dribbling which are not directly useful to their gameplay.

Whereas the rebound nets offer the opportunity for the keepers as a small group to practice saving shots as if they were coming off a volley. In addition as the slalom poles have been very popular in our Tuesday training sessions we will be looking into purchasing bases for the poles that would allow for them to be used on the 3G so that we can use them during our team training sessions on Fridays.

LAURA VINTON
PRESIDENT OF ROYAL HOLLOWAY WOMEN'S FOOTBALL CLUB