SCL staff in the spotlight:
Nuno André Nunes


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SCL Sports Lecturer, Football Coach and Sports Science Investigator, Nuno André Nunes is sharing his passion for football and coaching development with the publication of his first book: Small-Sided Games in Football: From theory to practice: develop a game model using an ecological approach.

In his day job, Nuno lectures the NCFE Sports Qualification to under-19 football players at Charlton Athletic Community Trust.

A collection of ideas from authors and coaches, Nuno used his experience working on his PhD dissertation to create a theoretical framework to provide guidance on the use of Small-Sided games in football.

Small-Sided games, or SSGs, are often used in training sessions for team sports, played with a smaller number of players and size of pitch than the official match.

Designed to translate theory into practice, Nuno’s book is ideal for coaches who use small-sided games on a daily basis and want to boost motivation and improve skills through practical activities.

Small-Sided Games in Football encourages success in a variety of coaching environments, as Nuno’s key aims demonstrate:

  • Provide a theory framework about the use of SSGs and the manipulation of constraints to achieve intended outcomes.
  • To develop the idea of Tactical Periodisation proposed by Prof. Vitor Frade and the creation of a game model, exploring different systems of play
  • To create a Microcycle using the previous guidelines and focused on Small-Sided games, Medium-Sided games and Large-Sided games, offering 126 examples of training tasks to be adapted by the coach
  • To provide first hand world class coaches interviews, where they develop their ideas of the use of SSGs in their training process

Tactical Periodisation is a concept that includes the technical, physical and psychological skills needed to play an effective game. The traditional view separates dimensions of a game, whilst this theory focuses on the tactical principles as a whole.

Nuno’s book has sparked conversation in the coaching community around the benefits of Small-Sided Games.

I’ve always thought the training process in an ecological approach, so it is of utmost importance to bring the match demands to our training session. The training process can be divided, but not disintegrated. And that is why SSGs can be a powerful tool used by coaches to improve team and players’ performance.” Leonardo Jardim

SSGs are players’ favourite part of the session. They enjoy playing football, in a small area, the competition, the realism of winning and losing. They love competing and it fuels them to achieve even more.”James Collins

“When I was playing, I used to be happy the day before the SSGs session, waking up ready and looking forward to starting to train.”Gus Poyet

SSGs give players a chance to go back to the basics of football, why they first wanted to be a football player. And it feels like street football, where players are exploring and enjoying themselves.”Robbie Nielson

Nuno’s book can be purchased now on Amazon and don’t forget to follow him on LinkedIn for more inspirational content.