Redefine Coaching & Athlete Development in Sports is the first book to combine academic research, professional experience, and applied practice to redefine the way in which sports coaching is delivered and how athletes are developed. Written by Lee Waddington, a leader in the field of soccer coaching―learning content creation and delivery―and currently a practicing coach, this book clearly and concisely introduces the academic evidence for how the Framework to Freedom system can be applied to practice, both on and off the field.
The Framework to Freedom system focuses on the child as a whole rather than playing abilities only. It examines four key areas: coaching, care, connectivity, and consumption. Using sport as the cornerstone, the system develops each individual child through a unique coaching program that uses a game-based approach underpinned by the science of learning.
Outlined in the chapters are current issues within sports coaching—such as blocked practice, individual rather than team development, and the 10,000-hour myth—as well as creative solutions for these issues. These solutions are supported by academic research from several disciplines such as neuroscience, sports science, and psychology.
Through its clear structure, Redefine Coaching & Athlete Development in Sports allows coaches and parents the opportunity to gain a genuine understanding of the science of learning that underpins the Framework to Freedom system and the unique way in which they can deliver practice to support each individual athlete. The book is an essential resource for any sports coach, parent, or student wishing to develop a new way of using evidence-based theory and methodology to create practices that develop strong athletes and outstanding individuals.
FRAMEWORK TO FREEDOM
I first met Lee when I was 5 years of age. I went to his football academy and we were taught how to play the game like footballers. It started in the changing room, away from your parents and listening to him outline what he wanted you, as an individual, to get out of every training session. Lee was also a scout and coach for Manchester United and he soon introduced me to a satellite centre at the age of 7 and then the academy. The rest is history really as I represented United in every age group, played all over the world and also played for England U20’s. I made my professional debut aged 21 against Crystal Palace, scored and was named Man of the Match. I can honestly say the way Lee taught me how to play football will always be with me, and I will always be grateful to him – Joshua Harrop (ex-Manchester United, current professional footballer at Preston North End FC)
It’s been a privilege watching Lee on his journey over the years, dedicating himself to not only his own development but many young players and coaches. The standards he continually works to exemplifies the level a developer should be aiming to be both on and off the field. The book is another testament to Lee sharing his expertise and knowledge with others – Eamon Mulvey (Head of Player Development & Coach U9-U13 at Manchester United FC)
I first met Lee Waddington in January of 2012 during my time as Academy Director at Burnley Football Club. Lee was recommended to me by several members of our Talent Identification and Recruitment department. His background in coaching and talent identification with impressive results in finding and developing young soccer players made him an outstanding candidate for our Academy Foundation Phase Lead Coach position.
He accepted the position and in the next few years I observed Lee’s work first-hand as he revolutionized the Foundation Phase environment within Burnley’s Academy. The traditional methods of coaching and assessing talent hadn’t changed much since the last century with player judgements still being made through subjective processes. Lee thought differently and started to challenge those dated techniques for the greater good of the players, our coaches and also our club. Due to his extensive research into holistic growth and development, Lee started to evolve the Academy’s internal practices for player development. He introduced new training ideology and evidenced based assessment protocols, resulting in the youth department using objective data to guide our personalized coaching programs. The age appropriate development and assessment of the individual person was prioritized above the player. The difficulty of progressing to a professional player in soccer academies is widely spoken about and Lee’s approach was to understand how these young people deal with adversity, how they developed coping strategies and their effectiveness in problem solving, while still learning the technical and tactical aspects of being a young soccer player.
Since his time in the Academy, Lee has further developed his knowledge through studying professional industry and academic qualifications. It was my pleasure to hear how he has progressed since our time together in the Academy. The game of soccer is ever evolving as are the teaching and learning principles coaches’ practice. The contents of this book will help contribute to the future of coaching and human performance. Having watched the positive impact and change that evidence-based learning has on an elite professional coaching environment, this book is a valuable learning resource for coaches, athletes and parents at any level of their sport – Jason Blake (UEFA Pro Licensed Coach)
I was personally coached by Lee Waddington who utilized a truly unique and individualized player development program. This book sums up that program in a way that any coach can easily understand and make use of – Oliver Younger (professional footballer at Sunderland AFC)
Having been a part of this unique development system [Framework to Freedom] from an early age, it really did mature me both on and off the field. I really don’t think I’d be in the position I am today if it wasn’t for this programme – Kian Yari (Division 1 soccer player at Missouri State University, USA)
It has been a pleasure and honour getting to know and work with Coach Lee Waddington over the past twenty-five plus years. In this time, I have had the fortune to collaborate with Lee on a number of football and football business related projects. I find Coach Lee to be a deep thinker on the principles of player development, player and coaching education and the elements of business development in sports. He has a superior knowledge base in the game and a refined approach to sharing his knowledge, which is beautifully detailed in this book – Jan Eric Nordmo (USSF A Licensed Coach / President, Arena Soccer Centers)
In the 5 years that our children have been pursuing their love of football, Lee is the finest coach, mentor and educator that our children have been blessed to work with. While our children are located on the other side of the world from Lee, his methods, manner and mentorship have created an unbreakable bond between him and them. He genuinely cares about them and they know it – Dean Lockwood (Melbourne, Australia)
About the Author
Lee Waddington is a UEFA “A” licensed and FA Advanced Youth Award qualified coach with a master’s degree in Applied Sport & Exercise Psychology.
Lee has worked for several Premier League clubs, including Manchester United, Nottingham Forest, Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, and Burnley, and has been involved in the UK professional academy system for nearly 30 years. He has a verifiable track record of exceptional player development, having assisted many players through his unique athlete development system, Framework to Freedom, to become professional soccer players in the UK and overseas, from the Premier League to the A League.