The Greater Game

Using the power of football to help improve the health and wellbeing of young people nationwide

As part of our long-term partnership, we’re proud to support The FA’s launch of ‘The Greater Game’. The programme aims to use the power of football to improve the health and wellbeing of young people aged 12 - 16 across the nation, encouraging them to make at least one healthier action a week.

A key part of The Greater Game is a grassroots initiative which Nuffield Health have co-created with The FA.

How does the programme work?

The Greater Game initiative is built around engaging and educational sessions that arm parents, guardians, coaches, and young people with the knowledge to help improve their physical and mental health both on and off the pitch.

As part of the programme, you’ll also receive access to practical information, tips, and techniques for supporting around the core pillars of Move, Eat, Sleep and Think.

Supporting grassroots football

The initial pilot programme saw 186 teams sign up, with participating clubs reporting a positive impact in all areas. Underpinning the national rollout is our ambition to onboard grassroots clubs across all 50 County FAs.

Meeting this ambitious target will mean more conversations between coaches, young people, and parents about how we can all make positive changes to our mental health, nutrition habits, and movement routine.

The facts and figures

Statistics show young people are showing significant increases in low-quality sleep, poor dietary choices, and time spent sitting still.

Research conducted by The FA shows young people are showing significant increases in low-quality sleep, poor dietary choices, and time spent sitting still.

  • An estimated 1 in 5 children leave primary school obese.
  • Over half (52%) of young people have experienced a mental health problem in the last year
  • 20% of young people eat fast food for dinner more than five times per week
  • Over a quarter (28%) do not feel the need to eat any fruit and vegetables.
  • 92% of 12 to 16-year-olds don’t achieve the recommended 60 minutes of exercise per day
  • Only 14% say they get the recommended minimum of 9 hours sleep every night 

How to get involved

If you’re a parent or coach looking to get involved with The Greater Game, click here to get started

Inspiring young people with ‘Drops’

With 92% of 12 to 16-year-olds failing to get enough exercise in every day, engaging and entertaining games are more important than ever.

Drops is just one drill you can introduce as part of your wider coaching sessions to help freshen things up. The rules are simple – all you need to get started is a ball, three friends, and six water bottles. As a rapid-fire ball-control game, it works great as a warmup to help test agility and footwork.

See how it works and watch England stars Ollie Watkins, Jessica Park, and Gino King give it a go themselves!

Eat, Move, Sleep and Think

Making small changes to the way children eat, move, sleep, and think can have a big impact on their overall health and wellbeing.

The Greater Game seeks to arm coaches and parents with the knowledge they need to encourage one healthier action a week in one of these areas.

Whether that’s eating more fruit and veg or reducing time in front of the TV, these small changes add up and can make a big difference to performance both on and off the pitch.

Get involved as a coach

Football coaching goes beyond what your players do on the pitch. As a coach, you’ll be constantly challenged when it comes to communication, expression, and player development.

Introducing The Greater Game pillars into your sessions is a great way to spread knowledge of healthy nutrition, sleep, movement, and mental health habits.

You’ll improve your own understanding and be better positioned to answer queries and questions from the touchline.