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MatchPlay Cards at Middlesbrough Football Club

Sitting as one of 27 clubs in the UK to be named as a Premier League Category 1 of Academy, Middlesbrough FC is a renowned player development environment and was the first team in England to famously field a whole starting lineup of academy graduates. Speaking our latest episode of the podcast, the club's Head of Coaching, Phil Shead to chat the impact of MatchPlay Cards© on players and coaches...


Discussing the impact of a heavily games-based approach, Head of Coaching, Phil Shead discusses the role of the coach as a problem setter to support players through the game; “If they can work it out in training, they can work it out in the game. I think as coaches, we can be clever how we shape things, we may leave certain constraints cards out to offer choice.”

“We’ve brought really heavily into MatchPlay Cards© particularly in the Foundation Phase. We are trying to create problem-solvers and decision-makers, they’ve been a great addition.” Adding the impact of MatchPlay Cards© has been to engage players in the learning process “… coaches are now able to give players choice and invite them to pick cards around certain themes.”


If we are looking to develop problem-solvers the game must then ask players to solve problems. Just as coaches of Middlesbrough do, we can add MatchPlay Cards© into training games as secr