Academy Philosophy


Shrewsbury Town Football Club

Academy Vision and Football Philosophy


Academy Vision

Shrewsbury Town Football Academy’s Philosophy, is around developing the individual player whether that is on the pitch or off the pitch. Our aim is to create a positive, challenging and enjoyable learning environment that provides the player with the freedom to express and develop their natural ability. We analyse the player’s performance against The FA Four Corner Model (Technical/Tactical, Physical, Psychological and social). These areas will help us break down the player’s performance to assess our players and highlight their strengths and area’s for development.

 Our aim for the future is to own our training facilities where the 1st team, Scholars & Academy players are based at one site, this would be a great opportunity for our scholars and academy players to watch 1st team players train but also create a good psychology & social element to our program. We also have a vision to become one of the best category three academies in the football league and aspire to develop a strong reputation for developing and producing youth players. 


Technical Ability

Initially each player should be technically competent at dribbling, running with the ball, turning, passing, receiving, defending, goalkeeping, etc all these techniques will be required to be done under pressure. These are essential requirements for all our Academy players to acquire.

Tactical Awareness

Having an understanding of our requirements when in possession of the ball, not in possession of the ball, plus the transition period. Players in the under-12 age group (Youth Development Phase) will start to develop their understanding of the Attacking & Defending Principles of the game, this will then become more specific to their individual role within the team as they enter the under-14 age group and how their role impacts on their team mates and opponents.


This should be undertaken through high intensity sessions with core stability work incorporated as per the Age Specific Training Programme, these attributes will become part of their own individual plan which is supplied by Pro Football Support.


The players should have an awareness of the psychological components required to succeed including confidence, motivation, and desire. They should understand how to act and behave responsibly both on and off the pitch, as this is a requirement of an Academy/Scholar/Professional player.


The players will develop social skills which will prepare them for life within and out of football. All our players will develop excellent socials/leadership values within our program. 

Academy Mission Statement

To recruit and train player’s from the local area and produce players in a supportive, professional and positive learning environment.


Core Values of the Academy

We have established a detailed Academy Philosophy and Vision linked to those of the football club.


The values of the club have a real relevant focus. The values focus on 5 core principles; Hardworking, Honestly, Excellence, Development and Pride;



We want all our players to work hard within every session and games. Our coaches will provide them with the opportunity to develop but it is down to the individual player.  Hard work teaches perseverance, persistence and determination



Honesty is an important value because it contributes to a positive mindset and facilitates morally acceptable behavior. Honesty is an important life skill for our players. Young players who adopt honest behavior are more likely to be successful and less likely to succumb to negative peer pressures.



It is important that all our players learn and develop how to give the best of themselves, on the field or in life; taking part; and progressing according to their own objectives.  



Clearly development (into the first team) is also an aspect which is important within our philosophy and one in which will be key measuring tool. We want to develop players so they are technically/tactically, physically, mentally and socially ready to step into the first team environment.



We want our players to be proud to represent Shrewsbury Town and adhere to the club vision, values and expectations. 


Objectives of the Academy

1. To encourage each individual player to achieve their best in football and education.

2. To act as positive role models in all our behaviours.

3. To provide a supportive disciplined environment where players and staff take pride in themselves and their surroundings.

5. To develop a holistic football development programme to maximise each individual players' potential.

6. To effectively communicate the aims and objectives of the academy with all stakeholders.

7. To promote and support positive outcomes related to health and social development.

8. To recognise and celebrate an individual player’s success on or off the pitch


Shrewsbury Town Academy Football  Philosophy

It is important that we produce young players with the technical, tactical, physical, psychological and social skills needed to play professional football through the delivery of high quality coaching programme. We are focused to develop all rounded young people by promoting, instilling and teaching the Club’s vision, values and football philosophy. It is important for us, as a club, to attempt to put the development of individuals before the results of teams.

All our Academy departments will work together to support the needs of all our players with the common goal of creating a pathway from the Academy to the 1st team. We will encourage our players to play creative, attacking football with a winning mentality.

Our aim is to play out from the back and through midfield. Our players must look to play forward whenever possible. Out of possession our players must know their defensive roles and responsibilities and they must be difficult to beat in 1v1 situations, and have the mentality to defend. We will seek opportunities to press whenever possible, but if we cannot press we will be compact and patient. 


When in Possession of the Ball


  1. Play out from the back
  2. Play through the thirds of the pitch
  3. Players look to find space whether, going high & wide, playing between the lines, standing still, playing on the shoulder of the opposition
  4. Individual players are encouraged to show creative expression


Within the transition our teams will look to….


  1. Regaining possession  of the ball
    1. Can we counter attack quickly, if yes we will try to do so?
    2. Do we need to build controlled possession to start an attack


  1. Losing possession of the ball
    1. Can we press the opponent in possession early?
    2. Do we need to delay and drop deep to regain our shape?


   When out of possession our teams will look to....


  1.  Press as high up the pitch as possible to regain possession.
  2. If this is not possible, we must delay and drop deep to regain our shape and wait for the right moment to press.

At no point in the Foundation Phase, Youth Development Phase, or Professional Development Phase do we prioritise the outcome of a match before performance.  However, we want our player’s to be competitive in every task they are set whilst upholding high standards of sportsmanship and fair-play. We also do not focus on the team’s performance, we focus on each individual players own performance as it is the individual’s development that is most important.


Team Formations


The under 9 and 10's will play 7-a-side matches in the games programme and they will play predominantly in a 2-3-1 formation.

All players may rotate their positions after each period, so each player has a go in various roles.


The under-11’s and 12's will play 9-a-side matches in the games programme and they will play predominantly in a 2-3-2-1 formation.

All players may rotate their positions after each period, so each player has a go in various roles.



The under-13’s, under 14’s, under 15’s, and under 16’s will play 11-a-side matches in the games programme and they will use the following formations



1-4-4-2 (diamond)

These formations are the preferred Academy formations. When our teams play 7-a-side (1-3-2-1 or 1-2-3-1), or 9-a-side (1-3-4-1) matches the preferred formations of the Academy must be played 100% of the time. When our players play 11-a-side they will play with the flexibility to play either 4-4-2 (traditional), 4-4-2 (diamond), or a 3-5-2 formation. Ideally we would like the players playing 50% of the game in an alternative formation, however it is the coaches discretion as to what formation they change it to.

Each player (apart from the goalkeeper’s) across the Foundation Phase and the players within the under 12’s and under 13’s of the Youth Development Phase will be provided with the opportunity to play in various positions. This will provide each player with a more holistic development programme. When the player reaches the Under14 age group he will start to be coached within more individual specific roles. In the Foundation Phase and Youth Development Phase the player’s will not practice set pieces (free kick or corner routines) they will be asked to play what they see. When the player reaches the Pro Development Phase he will be expected to carry out various roles on set pieces as instructed by the first team management or academy staff.


Shrewsbury Town Academy Coaching Philosophy

It is important that our coaches create a challenging, positive and enjoyable environment that allows players to express themselves, enabling them to develop as a footballer and as a person.  Both the players and coaches will be required to reflect and constantly strive for excellence.  It is a value of our club that our coaches all work together to promote the club football philosophy and build and nurture relationships. The player’s are all different, and at any point in their development, players will have different needs. We encourage our coaches to promote individual sessions or indeed a program of work to meet individual needs using age relative data and focusing on specific needs in relation to the four-corner model.