S87 ET Personal Development Centre

S87 ET Personal Development Centre


Themes of provision

-  Development for everyone
-  High quality coaching
-  Multi-perspective learning

The S87 Personal Development Centre is an academy of football for players, coaches and all those who support the game at grass roots level. Our programmes and events are designed, managed and delivered to provide the most appropriate personal development experiences. Through an underpinning philosophy of motivating, challenging and satisfying the needs and wants of participants, we not only develop skills and knowledge but also key traits of high self confidence, high self esteem and original character.

Development for everyone

We welcome everyone who wants to learn: very importantly there is no ability bar at the S87 PDC. We believe that every child has a right to improve him/herself, and our purpose is to facilitate this. Everyone is steered along a course with a personal agenda, and for exceptionally gifted players this may culminate in the opportunity to progress to a pro-club academy, either through referral, or by trial held at the PDC. Encouraging learning from each other is also one of our key development policies, and this includes collaborative teamwork, observing and studying gifted peers or conversely assisting less able peers.

Senior youth and adults
Our development pathways provide routes through from young leader to a multitude of roles within grassroots football: coaching, team management, match officiating, club administration and management, etc.

High quality youth football coaching

Under the auspices of our Football Development Manager, all S87 PDC sessions are led by full-time professional coaches, qualified with the most appropriate UEFA and English FA qualifications. In particular we ensure that FA Youth Module qualifications are a key component of the continued professional development programmes of all our staff. Our extensive syllabi provide the logical frameworks and content for our sessions, into which our coaches add enthusiasm, encouragement and personal expertise.

Multi-perspective learning for young players

Our long term player development philosophy not only ensures that young players receive coaching that makes them versatile on the pitch, but more importantly it prepares them for any eventuality in terms of their physical and mental growth. We believe that the final character and strengths of children cannot ultimately be determined until they have fully matured. Their needs, wants and sensitivities are continually developing, and so we are careful not to categorise players at an early age and thereby limit their experiences and potential growth.

We take a holistic approach to player education by also teaching topics on coaching, team management, match officiating, and club management. Not only does this foster an appreciation of those who teach, administer and govern football (and very often for free at grassroots level in this country), but it also helps those players who may like to pursue a career in the game (or other sport). It may even inspire them to undertake voluntary work within their club or at school, or indeed S87 can facilitate this through their national award winning Young Leader Programme.

Between the player and support sections of the PDC there are five main programmes which encompass a vast range of activities and events for youth and adults.


Structured training programme

Email Darren.Brown@Sporting87.co.uk for availability enquiries

This is a brand new regular training session for junior youth players indoors at the new Victory Sports Ground sports hall. It is a unique holistic approach to youth football development, designed to complement Club training and matches. It is open to all children keen to improve their technical ability, psychological understanding and knowledge of the game. There is no ability bar and so the programme caters for everyone who is serious about improving their footy up to academy level. We don’t form teams for matches; our focus is on the individual, and so instead we support them through their existing club footy, whether Sporting 87 or other clubs, and will make referrals direct to heads of recruitment at professional academies when it is appropriate for them to progress.

Underpinned by the same values and ethos as Club activities, the hour and a half long sessions involve practical activities to develop skills and techniques, together with short interesting theory lessons on various aspects of the game that vastly improve the player’s confidence. Teaching is in part tailored to the individual and delivered in small groups.

The PDC’s approach is based on a fair measure of psychological training as much as physical. We believe that for many players there is great untapped potential restricted by opportunity, knowledge and above all confidence. It is our aim to unlock that potential by resolving each of these issues in a holistic and structured way, which surpasses what may be regarded as similar ‘advanced’ football training activities. Players of all levels of ability will benefit from the programme, but only those who are serious about their development will gain fully. The social component of the sessions is an important part of the experience, as is having a great deal of fun, but hard work and dedication is required from all participants. Any set homework, either ball practice or theory is expected to be completed upon the due date.

The sessions are presented in a module-topic structure, with a module of related and sequentially ordered topics running through each school half term. Except for Christmas and Summer, during school holidays the evening sessions are replaced by Trust holiday club PDC taster days which are free to players enrolled on the programme. When a player joins the programme he/she is subject to an initial period of assessment through: controlled activities, observations of how they presently play, and relaxed interviews with our psychologist and coaches. Progress is monitored and continually feedback to the player; and reports are provided to the parents/carers upon the completion of each module. Sessions are closed to parents/carers, except for a player’s first introductory evening, and special open evenings. To help parents/carers support the development of their child, they may occasionally be asked to participate in sessions and attend progress meetings.

The programme is especially beneficial to those playing for Sporting 87 FC. Familiarity with the programme’s coaches and the learning environment contributes to the players comfort and thereby ability to learn. Also, Club team managers can be asked to support programme tasks and objectives that are set for players, and feedback on progress can be more easily acquired. Note that the PDC training kit is the same as the Club’s except for the shirt, which can be bought separately. A full PDC playing kit is available to all participants.

Programme modules have to be paid for in advance and are calculated by multiplying the number of weeks in a half term by the cost of each session, which is £5.50. There are one-off costs for a work portfolio/binder and stationery, but these needn’t be bought immediately. Organised excursions are also not be covered by module fees.

If you’d like your son or daughter to join us on Tuesday evenings from 1800 to 1930 at the new Victory Sports Ground sports hall, then please just send an email to let us know you’re coming, and we’ll look forward to seeing you. If in the meantime you have any questions you’d like answered, please just contact me.

Personal improvement programmes


Youth player personal improvement programmes provide focus on the individual, either through one-on-one coaching or within very small groups. This type of coaching is highly effective and can be employed to either quickly develop an inexperienced player to the level of their peer group or boost an already capable player’s level of performance. From an initial assessment a bespoke syllabus is created for each programme ensuring maximum impact of time and effort. These sessions can be arranged at times and venues to suit you.

Young Leaders Programme


We not only provide opportunities to learn and play football but also to develop broad life and leadership skills. Our junior young leader scheme is for ages up to U11, and involves taking on simple yet rewarding ad hoc responsibilities at local youth training sessions and on match days. Our senior programme is open to: players from U12 and above, young men that play in adult teams, and other young people that are not players. Progressing from senior to elite takes a lot of commitment and effort, and is dependant upon the amount of support and learning hours undertaken each season. Young leaders who reach the elite level will often advance into either our volunteers or coaches education programmes. For more information visit our young leaders web page.

Volunteers education programme

We manage and support the learning development of the voluntary workforce of our associated Football Club. By negotiating personal plans, administering course bookings with educational suppliers, and producing our own bespoke courses, we endeavour to maintain a high quality and motivated workforce. There is an open access policy to these support services and thereby other clubs and organisations are welcome to join our learning activities and events.

Coaches education programme

Just as for voluteers that support the game in so many different ways, we also manage and support the learning development of the coaches of our associated Football Club.