Skills Acquisition Program

What is SAP?

A key aspect of the Football Federation Australia National Curriculum is the implementation of a Skill Acquisition Program (SAP) to perfect and accelerate the skill development of identified players at the critical ages of 9 to 13. This is the age group universally acknowledged to be the optimal mental and physical phase in which children are able to learn motor skills.

The program is conducted over three, six-week blocks throughout the regular season with a Gala Day at the end of each block. Breaks will be taken after each Gala Day and for school holidays (unless stipulated by the SAP licensee). Training will take place twice a week and takes priority over club training. In total players will participate in exactly 36 sessions and three Gala Days.


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.


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

  • Striking the ball
  • First Touch
  • 1v1
  • Running with the ball

An absolute requirement is placed on an immediate skills transfer into positioning and small-sided games. It is based on world’s best practice and has been developed by internationally acclaimed technical coaches and the FFA technical department.

The most critical aspect of SAP is the training environment and youth training plan provided to the licensee by the local Skill Acquisition Program Head Coach, implemented appropriately by trained instructors. Licensees focus on a specific core skill in training, with Gala Days and club matches providing players the opportunity to test these skills in a competitive environment. It is important to recognise that the match in isolation should not be the focus of the licensee, coach or parent.

Perception SAP is an elite program

SAP was developed to provide the best learning environment to a large group of players in order to prepare them for the technical and tactical challenges of PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues (NPL) football that may feed into Talented Player Programs. SAP is therefore open to all players within the eligible age range each year.

More information (FFV FAQ’s)