Monday, 21 November 2011

Every Two Years - The Media & Youth Coaching

It was somewhat of a surprise when Stan Collymore asked the question - 'The definitive debate on coaching football in the UK..Tell us what's happening' I thought fair play to him.  This is a subject that is often ignored when we are in the throes of the domestic football season.

Stan went on to outline his views on the subject and they can be found here He raised a number of points that rarely get 'airtime' and subsequently went on to debate the topic on talksport on Monday 14th November.  I decided to email the programme and I have shown this below.

Whenever the profile of coaching and youth football is raised I always think maybe this is going to be a regular source of debate.  Personally I think it should be.  Unfortunately, other news, the domestic league programme and red top headlines tend to push it on to the back burner ready to be resurrected bi-annually after european championships or world cup tournaments.  

Unfortunately, Stan has gone a little quiet on the subject, partly due to Sepp Blatter's latest gaff I assume.  On a positive note, the EPPP and the FA's changes to youth football seem to have raised the profile and it is being discussed on a more regular basis than I recall in the past.

For those interested, this was my response to Stan Collymore and Talksport:

1. The junior game should not try to be a mirror image of the premier league if we want to prioritise the development of young english footballers.  I see grasroots coaches using hurdles, poles, ladders - normally with 15 to 20 kids waiting in a line without a football in sight.  This also happens in warm ups where kids are doing jogging, stretching and the obligatory line of kids waiting to take a shot at the goalkeeper with the coach serving.  Kids should be placed in positions where they are actually playing the game, with as little input as possible from adults.  If they are in a coached environment, fine, add a bit more detail at the right times, but they are not going to learn how to be independent thinking footballers with too much overbearing adult influence.

2. Schools football.  If possible a greater emphasis should be placed on the national sport in the primary & secondary sector.  This needs to be by consensus with the schools & pupils so we shouldn't force all to participate but realign the pe curriculum so that children get targeted coaching in priority sports from regulated external coaches if necessary.

3. Junior Football - coaching is still considered a volunatry activity & if the FA and Sports Coach UK want to place a greater emphasis on the professionalisation of coaching then the culture needs to change so that paid coaching activity is encouraged.  This could be, for example a Director of Coaching position at large junior clubs (charter standard community clubs) who could then put in place a playing vision & coaching strategy for that club or a group of clubs offering coaching advice & mentoring for new coaches.

4. Opportunities for coaches who have chosen to progress (& pay for coach education) The FA's report back in 2008 widely reported that we had under 2,000 B Licence coaches (think it's around 2,500 or 3,000 now) compared to France - 15,000 & Germany - 28,000.  These coaches could be deployed in the schools or junior football sector if it was co-ordinated & paid for by for example - implementing the government recommendations on the FA's financial surplus which is currently split 50% to the professional game & 50% to the National/Grassroots game.

5. Premier League look at interpretation of "net" when distributing fully 30% of their "net broadcasting income" to the grassroots.  The English Cricket Board simply distribute 30% from their broadcast income whereas the Premier League are allowed to net off players salaries as an operating cost.  Either this or a levy on player transfer fees or agents fees to be re-directed to youth development including grassroots football.

So, to summarise, it's always positive when the profile of youth football and youth coaching is raised.  I just hope I don't need to keep using a quote I found which tends to sum up the media mentality to international football 'failure' and the way it is always inextricably linked to coaching and youth development:

'Hyper expectation, dawning realisation, bitter recrimination, inquest, forget, repeat again in two years.' - (Unknown European Journalist)

1 comment:

  1. Re 3 - Just designed and introduced a club Vision, Coaching Philosophy and Game Style document for local CS club (largish - 250 + players approx). Introduction of Coaching 'Handbook' - not drills or exercises, but ideas on how to structure sessions and games. The trick now is to ensure it is implemented (14+ teams practising and playing at different venues at different times on different days) and trying to offer mentoring to those who want it (and whether the others see it as "trying to tell me what to do"). It can be done, but will take time to change the approach and mind set of coaches and parents