What Is The Best Way To Develop Footballers? (4 Corner Model)

Spencer Moeller

The 4 corner model outlines the factors that need to be considered as a young player grows and develops in the game. Each of the corners is connected and relies on support from the other three areas. The model is appropriate for players between the ages of 5-21. The development pathway for each individual player is unique and diverse so the needs of each player will ebb and flow in all of the 4 corners. While the need for added support for some players will be minimal, others will require much more applied and specific guidance. It is important for coaches and parents to understand that each aspect of the 4 corners does not exist in isolation. Everything is connected and relies on support from the other three corners.

A player’s performance in practice and matches can be influenced by the following factors, nearly all of which need to be considered when forming an opinion of a player’s progress and true ability: date of birth, relative to the rest of the group; body types; adolescent growth spurt in all the four corners; physical maturity; psychological maturity; social maturity; previous experience; opposition; position suitability; instructions given to the player; and recent playing activity.


  • Players should be encouraged to try new skills in practice and work out where & when they can be used in a game.
  • Where appropriate (age & experience dependent), practice should replicate the demands of the game, encouraging players to think and make decisions just as they would in a match. Vary the difficulty to match the needs of each individual, by altering the Space, Task, Equipment or Players (STEP).
  • The interruption by the coaches should be kept to a minimum to allow players experience the flow of the game and practice. Where interruption is necessary, it should be relevant and positive.


  • Appropriate movement skills which develop agility, balance, co-ordination and speed should be encouraged through enjoyable games such as tag.
  • Through well designed practice, all coaching activities should include physical outcomes. Remember players grow at different rates and may need support and patience as they develop, both at the start of their playing careers and when they reach puberty.


  • Visual (seeing): Tactics boards, posters, diagrams, cue and prompt cards, as well as cones on the pitch.
  • Auditory (hearing): Speak with players, ask questions, encourage discussions in groups amongst the players to solve game-related problems.
  • Kinaesthetic (doing): Demonstration to the team by the coach or by a player to their team- mates.


  • Create a positive and welcoming environment.
  • Be a good role model for the players.
  • Praise players for their efforts as well as their ability.
  • Manage mistakes to the player’s advantage – understand what they were trying to do. Sometimes they will have the right idea but just fail in the execution of the technique or the skill. This could be used to identify training needs.
  • Create a positive and welcoming environment.
  • Make sure football is fun, but with a purpose. Ensure the development of skills and game understanding.

Spencer Moeller


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