Skill Acquisition Program [SAP]

Skill Acquisition Program [SAP]

9 – 12 Years Old

What is SAP?

Our governing body, Football Federation Australia, use our own National Curriculum to implement the Skill Acquisition Program (SAP) to perfect and accelerate the skill development of identified players at the critical ages of 9 to 12. This is the age group universally acknowledged to be the ideal mental and physical stage in development which children are able to acquire motor skills.

The program is conducted from November to September with a Gala Day held monthly from April through to August.


To provide the necessary technical ‘tools’ to players in order to help them be able to play the game at the highest possible level with a focus on functional game skills.

Fundamental Core Skills

The Skill Acquisition Program focuses on the development of the four core skills:


First Touch

Striking the ball

Running with the ball

Coaches in the SAP Phase will predominantly use ‘Question and Answer’ as a means of achieving the pre-determined learning outcomes for each session and game.

FAQ’S – SAP trialist information

What is the selection criteria?
An assessment on the four core skills will be the primary focus as well as players social and psychological competence.
Will unsuccessful trialists be provided feedback?
With well over 200 trialists, SAP coaches are not resourced to provide each player feedback.
How many trials will there be before squads are finalised?
As many as the SAP licensee requires depending on the size of each zone.
Where are the training venues and when is training?
It is expected that two training sessions will be completed weekly. If there is a clash with your club training, it is hoped that SAP is prioritised, however, this needs to be agreed and discussed with the clubs affected. Where possible, SAP squads are encouraged to train on non-traditional club training nights. Players then return to clubs for the weekly match.
When will the program start and finish?
The 2020/21 SAP trials will be held in October 2020 for all squads. Training will continue for selected players through November and leading up to the Christmas holiday break. All selected squads will start training coinciding with the start of the 2020 school year through to September. These dates are subject to change, so please monitor your email, the Website and the Team App for communications.

Will the squads play competitive games?
The program is about technical development. SAP Gala Days will be held for our U10/11 Boys and 12 Girls age groups which will showcase all SAP (girls and boys) from around Northern NSW. This is not a result based event; it‘s about development only. This will be held at a centralised venue for either a one-day or two-day football Gala day.
What about U12s match days?
Oue U12s SAP players will have weekly fixtured games in the local U13 Coffs Competition.
How many players per squad?
Each SAP Program will differ but can have up to 2 squads per age group.
Who will I trial with?
You will trial with players similar in age. Please note we take into account the Relative Age Effect
Is the program open to goalkeepers?
Yes the program does cater for goalkeepers. The modern goalkeeper needs to be competent in each of the four core skills. There is a specific goalkeeping coach offered in the Skill Acquisition Program.
Is the program open to females?
Yes the program does cater for girls. Where there are not girls squads, girls are eligible to trial with the boys. In some cases girls may be offered the opportunity of a position in the boys group, subject to approval from NNSW Football.