SAP information


SAP stands for Skills Acquisition Program.  These programs are targeted to U9’s-U13’s.

SAP is the first step in the Talented Player Pathway (TPP) and is set by the National Football Curriculum. Traditionally, programs are organised at zone level and run by selective clubs around Australia.
As FFNC doesn’t offer a SAP program at zone level, Northern NSW Football gives out SAP licences to clubs on the FNC to run the SAP program at club level with qualified coaches and support.  This is a unique situation.
2020 is the third year that PBFC has been involved with the program.  The past 2 years have proven a great success for players, clubs and the zone.  We now have experienced coaches who will continue to mentor our upcoming coaches.
Here are some further details about the program (taken from the National Football Curriculum):
The Skill Acquisition Phase (U/9-U/13)
The characteristics of children this age are:
  • They are highly motivated and enthusiastic
  • They are competitive, like challenges and want to show they’re the best
  • They are well balanced and coordinated
  • They are very adaptive to learning motor skills
  • Although still self-centred, they start to learn how to work together
  • They are sensitive to criticism and failure (praise is important)
  • They are physically and mentally ready for a more structured approach to training

The focus during this period is on the development of the ‘functional game skills’.

These are the technical skills you need to perform effectively during a game.
The word ‘functional’ emphasises the difference to ‘un-functional’ tricks, which may be fun to see and do but useless during the game.

The foundation of the Skill Acquisition Phase is built upon:

• The coach focusing extensively on providing a solid foundation of technical skill.
• If the player does not gain this skill foundation during this phase it will be very difficult to make it up later.
• No amount of fitness or competitive spirit will ever compensate for deficiencies in functional game skills.
At this age the children are ready for a more structured approach to training.
In every session the focus is on one of the core skills, from the beginning until the end of the session (“theme based sessions”).

The 4 Core Skills:

The FFA Skill Acquisition training program focuses upon developing four core skills when in possession of the ball.

1. Striking the ball
This includes all forms of striking the ball such as short/long passing; shooting and crossing
2. First touch

Controlling the ball with all allowed body parts

3. 1 v 1
All moves, feints and accelerations to get past and away from an opponent
4. Running with the ball
At speed (with a lot of space) or ‘dribbling’ (in tight areas), this includes techniques for protecting the ball and changing direction.