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Enlist now: your country needs you

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Matt Slater | 18:20 UK time, Tuesday, 21 September 2010

So there we were: me, ex-Chelsea/England defender Graeme Le Saux, former GMTV host Ben Shepherd, the tall one from Inbetweeners, a female prison officer from Exeter and a submariner from Preston playing tag on a football pitch in central London.

I'm not sure why they were there (beats working?) but my motivation was clear: English football needs me, it's obvious.

What else could I think when a day after the Football Association announces another English coach will be recruited to catch the pearls of wisdom that fall from Fabio Capello's mouth, it launches a recruitment drive for grassroots coaching talent?

It's practically a come-get-me plea. But the even better news is they don't just need me, they need you too. In fact, the FA wants 50,000 more qualified coaches by 2011 and 8,000 new referees.

Action from the 'Football Needs You' launch

Shepherd closes in while your correspondent tackles a girl in the background

It's what people who work in sport and Australians call a "big ask" but it's also long overdue if English football is ever going to close the skills gap that opens up every other summer when our brave boys take on those tricky chaps from elsewhere.

Three months ago, when England's most recent golden generation was revealed to be a pile of over-polished pyrite, the most damning score line was not 4-1 but 34,790-2,769.

Capello, Frank Lampard and the well-refreshed blokes dressed as crusaders can cling to the lifeline of that shot off the underside of the bar all they like, but 32,000 fewer senior coaches than Germany is a rout even the most one-eyed England fan cannot deny.

Or can they? Is there a coaching equivalent to the "at 2-2 we would have had the momentum" argument? Perhaps. But before I get into that, let's return to the FA's "Football Needs You" wheeze.

On the face of it, it's a low-cost no-brainer. Talk to almost any professional sportsperson and an inspirational coach will figure highly in their back stories. Getting greater numbers - and more quality - into this country's coaching ranks is, for my money, the national governing body's most important job.

In terms of detail, the campaign is a straightforward advertising push, with the main innovation being the FA's first "short" for cinema audiences.

I'm told this advert is a "Never Mind the Buzzocks"-style spoof and it stars England U21 coach (and my main rival to be next England boss) Stuart Pearce, alongside six everyday folk who currently juggle the demands of busy careers and "their passion for coaching and refereeing".

England manager Fabio Capello and assistant Stuart Pearce

The race to replace Fabio Capello starts now and Stuart Pearce looks nicely placed

This group will also feature prominently in a nationwide poster campaign and having played tag with prison officer Tracy Burnett and submariner David McNamara I can attest to their passion for football and all-round niceness.

A more cynical man than me might point out that in terms of investing money in grassroots football a celebrity-free advertising campaign is hardly a game-changing commitment.

But the FA, like the rest of us, isn't in a position to make game-changing financial commitments at the moment. Last week's admission that the governing body is struggling to make ends meet in the wake of the overspend on Wembley, head office move from Soho Square, demise of Setanta and rising salary costs (ahem, Fabio) puts the "ask not what your country can do for you etc" nature of the coaching recruitment drive into context.

It's not the multi-million-euro response the German FA made to the relative disappointments of its national team a decade ago but it's something, particularly when you realise our much maligned FA is still committed to investing an unprecedented £40m a year in amateur football.

Thanks to ring-fenced cash from McDonald's (to train coaches for all age-groups) and Tesco (to develop skills coaches for five to 11-year-olds), the FA has been able to maintain its spending on grassroots coaching despite the squeeze felt in other parts of the organisation.

For example, the governing body's 520-strong workforce has just witnessed the closure of their final salary pension scheme. A small sacrifice, some might say, but as the FA's head of grassroots coaching Les Howie told me, it meant there would be no cuts to "frontline services".

So while I'm not going to pretend "Football Needs You" is the antidote to further bouts of England v Algeria-style depression, it is part of the cure.

If the FA cannot afford to pay coaches more than the clubs do so they stay with younger age-groups or subsidise coaching courses (Level One will take 30 hours and set you back about £140), the very least they can do is raise the profession/vocation's profile and give it some public praise.

There was something else Howie said that made me reassess my slightly underwhelmed view of the FA's recent efforts, or perhaps it was just the way he said it (like all good coaches, he is a natural communicator).

Germany, Spain and rest of continental football's leading lights remain the target in terms of qualified coaches but that gap isn't as glaring as the post-World Cup headlines suggested, Howie explained.

The undeveloped site of the National Football Centre at Burton

Nine years after it was announced, the National Football Centre is still a building site near Burton

England only signed up for the European coaching standards a decade ago. Our main rivals have been churning out Uefa-qualified coaches for 40 years. The evidence from recent years is we're finally matching them. The gap will close, eventually.

There is one other thing the FA could and should do to facilitate that move towards international parity: build Burton.

The most recent opening date (there have been a few) for the National Football Centre is 2012 but last week's financial reckoning poured fresh doubt on that happening. The FA remains £10m short of a proposed £100m budget for English football's coaching "Oxbridge" and another delay looks increasingly likely.

This would be a terrible blow to committed and talented coaches like Howie. He needs a real base and to hear him talk about a visit to Italy's revered Coverciano complex was to fully understand quite what Burton could mean to coaching in this country.

Perhaps the FA's next recruitment drive should be for architects, builders, electricians and plumbers. In the meantime, I'm going to sign up for my Level One badge. Who's with me?

As well as my blogs, you can follow me when I'm out and about at http://twitter.com/bbc_matt

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I have just printed off my application to do my FAW coaching course, and have also applied to coach in the USA through the summer before I head back to Uni. I think these courses are great, I would quite happily coach grassroots football in my sparetime for free to help kids and improve their lives through sport. Although i'm not english and therefore am not part of this push, i think the whole of the uk would benefit by getting more coaches into grassroots and then working their way up the system.

  • Comment number 2.

    I have been a qualified U.E.F.A B coach since 1998, (i believe it was one of the first courses) i have brief periods of employment with professional clubs/companies but in general i have just worked locally in south yorkshire. The main problem i faced was the 'jobs for the boys' attitude.As i never played professionally ex pros were always taken on at clubs first, and i have seen several who could not coach kids.
    I agree with the idea of more coaches at grass route levels but many are taking coaching qualifications so clubs meet charter standards and they have no interest in improving their coaching after gaining their first award. I may be cynical but this is my experience.

  • Comment number 3.

    #2 - do you think your experience is typical of the general football management population in England, Europe and the rest of the world? To clarify further, there are probably a handful of managers that weren't footballers before e.g. Wenger, Mourinho and Benitez. I'd struggle to name anymore.

    Matt, great blog as always even though I'm probably biased because grassroots football is a subject close to my heart.

    I remember in your previous blog about England's so-called golden generation that you wanted grassroots coaching to be more about development and less focused on results. Even though you only had a taster here, what was your impression?

    And good luck with your Level One badge.

  • Comment number 4.

    What kind of level do you have to be to classed as a senior coach? My Dad and brother are both applying for their Level 1 badge in the half term, and considering it is so easy to do, I would have thought there were more than two thousand L1 coaches in the UK.

    #3 Mourinho and Benitez both played professionally, however, their careers weren't incredibly successful. The point is still valid though, because as their playing careers didn't go as well as they would've liked, they were arguably more motivated to manage.

  • Comment number 5.

    #4 So did Wenger. I don't think any of them played into the 30's? Correct me if I'm wrong.

    I think you become a senior coach when you get your UEFA 'A'.

  • Comment number 6.

    Nothing much will change whilst "big clubs" continue to coach young kiddies in a way which takes away individual problem solving etc. Please see this article by Tony Carr MBE......he is SOOOOOH right. I witnessed exactly this happening at an UNDER 's match by a Sheffield United so called youth coach..appalling!!


    Joystick Coaching? NO! (Leave joystick coaching to the control freaks)
    A 'joystick coach' is a term coined by Alex Kos to describe coaches who dictate and control their players' movements on the pitch, as though they were playing a real life video game called 'My Kids Team 2010!'
    Why do they do it?
    1/. The unpredictable and fluid nature of football makes it a difficult game to coach compared to, say, American football or hockey. This is especially true for coaches who ask young players to stay in positions that make no sense to them.
    Because asking players to stay in position doesn't seem to work - players wandering 'out of position' really frustrates coaches who like to see neat patterns on the football field - some coaches decide they must 'help' their players by instructing them to stay in position and lo! - another 'joystick coach' is born.
    2/. Coaches see other coaches control their players and win matches, and they feel compelled to do the same.
    3/. Parental pressure for instant results stops some coaches taking a long-term view and makes them strive for quick wins instead.
    What are the consequences?
    1/. It's not the kids' game anymore. It belongs to the coach.
    2/. Children gradually lose interest in football because they are not allowed to simply play the game to the best of their ability. Individualism and spontaneity are frowned upon and the fun soon disappears.
    3/. Young football players are not encouraged to make their own decisions. While this may stop them from making mistakes when they are learning the game, it also stops them becoming really good players in later life when the ability to make quick, correct decisions marks out the the excellent players from the average.
    What can you do about it?
    1/. Don't tell your players what to do. Instead, equip them with the skills they need to do the job and then let them get on with it in their own way.
    2/. Encourage risk taking. Is a pass across the penalty area, for example, always a mistake? Discuss the risks with your players, don't lay down the law.
    3/. In training sessions, don't tell your players to 'move there' or 'go here'. Instead, point out that whatever they are doing could be done better and help them come up with the answers themselves.
    4/. On match days stay quiet, and make sure parents/assistants don't shout instructions. Lead by example. Good behaviour, like bad behaviour, is infectious.
    Let's unplug the joystick and let the children play!
    Tony Carr, West Ham Utd FC Academy Director (for a “children in sport publication”)

  • Comment number 7.

    sorry...it was an UNDER 8s match!!

  • Comment number 8.

    I couldn't agree more with Malt in #2. Football is a closed shop industry and 'jobs for the boys' is spot-on. TheAmj has clearly missed the point as I don't believe Malt is saying he wants to be a premier league manager. I have several contacts in the professional game and all of the youth team/academy roles go to mates and friends within the game often without any experience of coaching. The point with regard to Mourinho is that if he was English he would NEVER had got the chance to coach any side above the Ryman league. Germany has 32000 UEFA B coaches compared with 2500 - they cant all be ex-pros!!!!!!! On the continent the question asked by the assessors is 'Can you coach?' here it is 'How many games did play for Hartlepool?'. I am completing my UEFA B licence and amazingly we are told we MUST play with two strikers in our practices - I cannot believe for one second that this is the case in Spain or Holland.

  • Comment number 9.

    BuckosBoots and Malt, although I have no contact with professions within the game I have no doubt what you say is true. And this move may not change the situation, but it is a step towards remedying it.

    I really feel that this is the best news for the future of English football I have heard in as long as I can remember. Its great to see that the FA is finally beginning to address the problems at a grass roots level. I was convinced that in four years time after England have failed to live up to unrealistic expectations at yet another World Cup, we would still be banging on about changes need to be made to grass root coaching. By no means is the complete solution to England's poor tournament record but even the longest journey begins with a small step.

  • Comment number 10.

    All very nice Matt though the idea of increasing the number of people with it is laudable, this itself will not raise the standard of coaching. If you do it and coach, you will find that the qualifications bit is not the problem in England; the problem is the philosophy behind the whole coaching set up. A number of your bloggers have pointed out the issue of clubs taking on the old pros before 'qualified' coaches-the mantra is they know the game, they have played at the level, they have the kudos. All very true and hard to argue with, but utter tosh. Have you been out in England and watched child and youth football? The standard is terrible, the coaching by FA 1 and FA 2 coaches laughable. We have young kids playing 3-5-2 which means the wing back has to do the full backs job and the wingers job and needs to be a physical beast-nonsense! We have 10 and 12 year olds playing on a full sized pitch. Imagine a young Xavi try to play a short passing spanish game on a 100 metre pitch? You can't so what we see is lump, lump, lump and a football game dominated by the big and the fast.

    Coaching kids is really about education more than football. Coaching kids is about setting up the ideal environment and understanding children. Day in day out it is NOT about developing a young Wayne Rooney or a kid with lightning pace or a kid the size of a house, i.e the kind of children that dominate teams at child level and could be spotted by the tea ladies! The ability to handle and understand children is far more important than an ex pros knowledge of playing football-who cares how good you were anyway?

    More coaches will NOT address the problems at grass roots level any more than more teachers will solve the major issues in our schools. More coaches will mean more adults churning out the same dross to even more children, the kind of nonsense that has us in a pickle at the moment. Left to ex pros, English football produces lumps at the back and fast wide players (players who do great at youth levels but then disappear-where is the craft and patience and the basic ability to keep the ball in midfield, the kind of ability that Stevie G and Rooney and Lampard and J Cole and Barry et all have shown year after year they do not possess? Left to ex pros, the last world cup saw England thrashed by a team that had a converted midfielder at centre-half, a centre-half at right back, a right back at left-back, a winger 'holding', a centre forward playing wide left and a kid running the show. To my mind this 'mess' gelled because Germany produces players not wingers or full backs etc and because they understand the team ethic and because their philosophy is right from the off. German teams are competitive even when they are poor and full of players who wouldn't get into the Golden Generation team-how is this possible?

    If we have more coaches, what must change is the philosophy. Children need to 'play without fear', my club motto, they need to play in every position including goal form a young age(and not be labelled a centre half because they are big, they need to play on pitches appropriate to their size (we don't ask 12 year olds to write 2500 word essays so why do we ask them to play on the same sized pitch?), they need to be encouraged when they are small or slow and not left out (imagine a teacher not teaching your child because they are not a 'good' as others in the class). We need coaches who encourage children to play in every area of the pitch and not scream 'lump it' or 'don't mess around there'.

    Teaching you to set out a few cones and organise a few drills is easy Matt but as you will see, without a philosophy it will be a complete waste of time. You really want to leave this to the FA? No chance if the same old faces and the same old philosophy think that the reason for our lack of success is a lack of delivery and not the excruciating lack of content.

  • Comment number 11.

    "You don't need to have been a horse to be a jockey" Sacchi.

  • Comment number 12.

    Comment one is typical of the where our decent coaches coach... at the first chance we go abroad, namely America. The demand for coaches across the pond is growing year on year, and there is no question where the better facility and SALARY lie. I coached in the US for 2 years, not only having a great coaching experience but the obvious sightseeing and people meeting came hand in hand.

    On returning to the UK I looked into coaching grassroots, the more I tried to motivated myself to volunteer on a soggy cow field on a dark evening or a cold Sunday morning; it just didn't appeal.


    My memories of having a company car, flat, perfect pitches and -like I said- a salary, made me realise how far behind British football has already fallen.

    MY MAIN POINT... the FA needs to EMPLOY coaches, or invest in independent companies who pay coaches. The world has changed since the 70s, 80s and even 90s, young people can find coaching jobs abroad... an they'll be gone as fast as comment #1 Radabe_Raver. Have a great time over there Radabe.

  • Comment number 13.

    #8 - I haven't missed the point #2 was trying to make. I'm fully aware that Malt probably doesn't want to go into management. I was just trying to draw attention to the fact that the vast majority of managers are ex-pros and this probably applies to the coaching population too.

    I've never played football professionally, only for the fun of it, yet I have aspirations to make a living from coaching football professionally, as unrealistic as it may seem based on previous posts. Or is it?

  • Comment number 14.

    Hi FrankFord,
    I strongly agree with your vision for the young kids. Do you have an advice or anyway I can mail you to further this discusion and allow me to pick your brain please
    Thanks

  • Comment number 15.

    #10, Frank Ford...

    I'm sorry but I have to take issue with your comments, as I feel they are unduly negative and are missing the point somewhat. You suggest that the problem is with the coaching establishment in this country, e.g. the 'old boys' network, but the whole point about the coaching drive is grassroots reform, i.e. change being driven from the grassroots up and not the top down.

    You also mention the poor standard of both the football and coaching at child and youth level. I have no doubt that your comments are valid with regards to certain clubs in certain regions, however things are changing at a decent pace. A huge amount of my local FA's training course (Gloucestershire, by the way) was dedicated to small sided games on smaller pitches and exercises (with the ball) that help to build up the team ethos and create an environment where kids are prepared to take risks without fear of being victimised by their team-mates or spectators if their risks don't pay off.

    Over the course of summer I have witnessed several brilliantly organised tournaments for kids at Bristol University's Coombe Dingle sports complex in which the overriding themes were the positive involvement of all the adults present (coaches, parents, spectators), the footballing intelligence of the kids playing, the trust and encouragement that these kids showed towards their team-mates and most of all, the fact that they wre really quite good. I have been involved in similar events in Exeter and London.

    Obviously, we're a long, long way from being perfect but changes started being made quite a few years ago and progress is being made on a daily basis.

    And lets not criticise all the ex-pros who coach. There are some truly inspirational and encouraging ex-pros out there and there always have been. Gary Shelton (ex Bristol City) helped out my youth side with a bit of coaching in the '80s and we loved him simply because his focus was ensuring that we enjoyed football and making it fun. Unless a coach can tick those boxes, there isn't really much point in bothering, is there?

  • Comment number 16.

    I recently completed my FA Level 1. It was all paid for by Active Norfolk which i believe is part of the Norfolk County Council and was taken by Level 3 FA coaches.

    Although it was fairly basic, it gave me a good set of skills to use on the training pitch with my local children and adult club and i was encouraged to go on and take my Level 2 which i believe is much more in-depth.

    I don't necessarily believe #10 is true and its more do with the experiences of the new coach, how they perceive the game and how they were coached when they were younger. I already believed the philosophy described by poster #6 and never thought that one played should only play one position when they are young.

    I was given a form to complete to become a member of Norfolk Coaches Association which gives us access to watch training events put on by the Norfolk FA and Norwich FC so all coaches can get together as a forum to swap ideas. I think this is very important as coaches shouldn’t be blinkered in what they coach.

    Its good the FA are trying to do this and hopefully they will recognise good coaches and the cream will rise to the top regardless if they have played a high standard or not.

  • Comment number 17.

    Hi Matt

    My initial thought when reading the blog was that quality not quantity should be the answer, i don't see the point of having 32000 coaches turning out the type of players we have currently.

    Littlefork (reply 6) was probably the best reply i have seen on a blog, and that list he has given should be posted everywhere where people are taught about football.

    The coach i had when i played (not to any serious level) had a similar ethos to Tony Carr, in that we were encouraged to pass the ball and to enjoy ourselves, we were there for the enjoyment of it, winning was a bonus.

    The problem is from the top down, winning is everything. So too many clubs concede principles for results.

    Very good blog by the way, very thought provoking.

  • Comment number 18.

    Fred Ford post sums it up really! Great post!

    Nothing more to add to Fred Ford's post other than I believe in kids football there are too many 'coaches' involved for themselves and not for the kids. I am a firm believer that the weekend game is an extension of the training/technical skills you have coached in the week to check the learning in an opposed environment and not all about winning or losing like you see on a Sunday mornings!

  • Comment number 19.

    #2 is absolutely right about coaches achieving level 1 so their club retains their charter standard and thus can apply for grants etc. But, imho, Level 1 is not a coaching qualification. It is a child protection, first aid, understanding how to organise a coaching session. It teaches almost nothing about coaching football skills other than a few games. There are a few discussions about coaching principles but a lot of students glaze over at this point


    #6 has hit the nail on the head. The real problem with young children's football is the adults. Why, oh why, do adults insist on organising forma leagues from under 9s etc upwards ? What benefit does that bring English football ? If you manage a team in a league your responsibility to players and parents is to win games. If you don't the better players will move to teams that are winning games (I know this bit from experience). So what do you do ? If you have a big player you put him at the back to intimidate attackers and tackle hard, if you have a small skilful player you put him on the wing (OK, this is a parody but you get the picture). Effectively we are pigeonholing players at an early age and they do not learn the entire game.

    My plan

    1. Get rid of all formal leagues until under 15 - still have interclub games but maybe even mix the teams up so they are playing with players from other teams.
    2. Get out to the clubs and demonstrate coaching sessions.
    3. Provide regular communication with coaches, level 1 and above, which includes plans for training sessions to achieve particular objectives.
    4. Provide a safe environment to have a supervised 'kick around' with very little adult involvement (certainly no coaching) just like we did when we were kids and where we learnt to play football.

  • Comment number 20.

    #2 is absolutely right about coaches achieving level 1 so their club retains their charter standard and thus can apply for grants etc. But, imho, Level 1 is not a coaching qualification. It is a child protection, first aid, understanding how to organise a coaching session. It teaches almost nothing about coaching football skills other than a few games. There are a few discussions about coaching principles but a lot of students glaze over at this point
    #6 has hit the nail on the head. The real problem with young children's football is the adults. Why, oh why, do adults insist on organising forma leagues from under 9s etc upwards ? What benefit does that bring English football ? If you manage a team in a league your responsibility to players and parents is to win games. If you don't the better players will move to teams that are winning games (I know this bit from experience). So what do you do ? If you have a big player you put him at the back to intimidate attackers and tackle hard, if you have a small skilful player you put him on the wing (OK, this is a parody but you get the picture). Effectively we are pigeonholing players at an early age and they do not learn the entire game.
    My plan
    1. Get rid of all formal leagues until under 15 - still have interclub games but maybe even mix the teams up so they are playing with players from other teams.
    2. Get out to the clubs and demonstrate coaching sessions.
    3. Provide regular communication with coaches, level 1 and above, which includes plans for training sessions to achieve particular objectives.
    4. Provide a safe environment to have a supervised 'kick around' with very little adult involvement (certainly no coaching) just like we did when we were kids and where we learnt to play football.

  • Comment number 21.

    The issue is the quality of coaching not the quantity. I am qualified at Level 3, a qualified teacher and have been involved in grassroots football for 13 years with one club. We have our FA Charter and twenty odd Level 1 coaches involved but the coaching is generally poor. I am the only coach qualified above Level 1. For what it is worth I believe Level 1 is not a football coaching qualification but more akin to childcare with a football element, which I guess is what most grassroots work is anyway so fair enough. However Level 1 (and its 'age appropriate' varient) does lay the foundations for an enlightened approach to how children learn and the complexities of their physical, social, psychological development. To coach football to a level our kids deserve means a minimum Level 2. If the kids we work with progress and develop as footballers then we owe it to them to progress as coaches. The emphasis for the FA should be on facilitating and encouraging coaches to progress through level 2 to Level 3 and not just on widening the base of the pyramid and hoping for the best. Levels 2 and 3 are harder to achieve and require a higher degree of committment because of the time involved. The FA should look at more flexible delivery of Level 2 & 3 and the assessment methods used to make progression attractive to the cohorts at grassroots for whom spare time and circumstance is the barrier.

  • Comment number 22.



    Ok what is the driver then?

    I would have to invest a lot of my own money to take the course. I would have to take time out to attend the course and complete the qualification.

    All for what? There are no jobs, nobody taking on coaches. We do not have Residential summer camp schemes here like in the states. Amateur clubs cannot afford to pay a coach for their services. Professional clubs are reluctant to employ anybody without a professional playing background (or a friend of a friend who can get you in)

    So I spend my money, I spend my time taking the course to be able to...

    Coach voluntarily some kids in Sunday league football. I could do that anyway, without the outlay. And if anybody else has taken the Level 1 they would realise what a complete waste of time it is. I have a degree in sports science and felt quite ashamed at what was being conveyed

  • Comment number 23.

    Taking the line from 'Field of Dreams' regarding Burton - "Build it and they will come."

    There is an issue of lack of respect shown to coaches in our game throughout all levels and hence the poor recruitment numbers. We've all heard parents moan about how little Johnny isn't being played to his strengths! Many good willed, enthusiastic coaches suffer abuse and are discouraged and lost from the system because of this. At older age groups, the teens having learnt from their parents' poor attitudes early on won't even listen to instruction.

    What's wrong with getting all the pro's to give up some of their ample 'free-time' to pass on their coaching tips, say one afternoon a week? The kids would listen to them.

  • Comment number 24.

    Today we have a topic with excellent postings, totally agree #17 goodwill_the_blue, it is thought provoking with so many good points raised by all contributors.

    It is all very well increasing the numbers of coaches at grass roots level, this is common sense until we look at the actual coaching qualifications gained by those in the game. #7 Littlefork is right regarding the modern day coach at grass roots level and at the higher end of the game.

    We do not question the method of teaching coaches and what has been instilled in them. If the teaching is wrong at the start, we end up with what we have now, the vast majority of coaches operate in the same way. The coach cannot be totally responsible because it is all he knows because that is how he was taught. The coaching qualification actually perpetuates bad practice.

    Football today, at the highest level is almost robotic no matter what style the team plays because of the coaching methods employed. You see the same approach at grass roots level.

    Since the introduction of the EUFA badge system, football has been in decline. For example, at the highest level there has not been an outstanding World Cup for many a year. Ask yourself with honesty, how many outstanding individuals do we have playing the game now? There will always be a few who play with freedom but before the EUFA badge, we had far more.

    It would be naive to suggest players were not coached before the EUFA badge system but in the past players were coached by people who had a freedom to teach, with their own ideas about the game. The individuality we once had in football has now all but gone as a direct result of current coaching methods.



  • Comment number 25.

    #20 totally agree with Robert about the leagues but realistically u11/u12 shouldn't be a problem for the FA to ban league tables and cups.

    as regards jobs for the boys its a farce and really does need sorting out.some of the ex pros just turn up for there assessment with out doing a thing and pass, because he knows the game.

    these courses should be free the instructors should be full time employed by the fa, not prison guards making up a wage.

    the list is endless actually as to what is wrong but nobody listens, who has Trevor brooking actually ever consulted with.
    has he ever been involved with the running of local football does he know the pressures that even u9s div3 managers are under to get results from some of the parents.
    TALKING OF JOBS FOR THE BOYS HOW IS TREVOR BROOKING EVEN QUALIFIED TO DO HIS JOB.
    let me guess because he knows the game.

    yes its a step in the right direction but level 2 should be minimum standard.

    well just of to scream at a bunch of school kids and introduce young johnny to new favorite position, left back




    only joking hes in the nets

  • Comment number 26.

    FA Level 1 is mostly child protection and first aid, aside from a few basic drills (taught in 1 session) there is nothing in that course that will "qualify" you to coach football.

    I understand the push to get level 1 coaches, but it should not stop there, but that is where most youth clubs stop, as thats what the FA require for it to be a Charter Standard Club.

    So what you have is a bunch of over enthusiastic dads, with no real coaching skills (or footballing ability) with a first aid certificate trying to nurture young talent.

    The quality of the Level 1 course needs to be improved to include more basic technique and coaching.

    There also needs to be a requirement for the clubs to get their coaches all onto level 2 ... Level 2 should be structured so that it's esier to complete at weekends, most of the courses require you to take a week off work to complete them !

  • Comment number 27.

    Matt it is a great blog could you do all us grassroots coaches a favour and bring it to the attention of the governing body they might actually take note of someone from the national media.
    my point is these are nearly all fantastic responces the FA should know how we feel
    cheers

  • Comment number 28.

    we should be teaching the kids how to play football ie pass the ball control, skills,there is to much on winning games.my son plays u9s now they have joined a league they pick the best so called best players.they are u9 all are about the same we should be teaching the basic skills.until we get out the attitude winning is everything we will not improve,that can come when they are older.at this age training is more important trying to encouage passing rather than lumping it is a good start.

  • Comment number 29.

    Having been through coaching qualifications for cricket and now running a junior section there are a few myths to dispel;

    1. Not every volunteer wants to jump through the hoops to qualify, cost and bureacracy deters volunteers from commiting.

    2. Retaining qualified coaches is not easy. Either the enthusiasm waines, their child moves on or work/family becomes a priority.

    3. Not all good players are good coaches even if they're qualified.

    4. There are never enough volunteers once qualified they usually want paying.

    5. Kids know best - you could put Messi in a training session the kids but they won't necessarily listen.

    6. Cricket has no national centre for coaching so why should football.

    One thing cricket does well is send out regular coaching info (drills & news etc)including a DVD of simple sessions with experienced coaches that make the annual fee worthwhile plus you're insured.

  • Comment number 30.

    I have coached since 2007 and havent done it since February this year. I need to renew my first aid but to be honest there is no motivation for me to do it. The best work I could get was part time which was for about 8hours a week earning £70. Okay I was only a Level 1 coach but until the FA can make it affordable and are able to offer us work within their organisation, then becoming a coach isnt going to be attractive to your average man or woman. As someone mentioned people who have played the game professionally will always be favoured in terms of getting into clubs. Make it more appealing FA, get bases for future coaches to develop and then people will get interested and motivated for it.

  • Comment number 31.

    Very thought-provoking comments posted here. @19 Robert wrote that leagues etc... should be scrapped. I think that's fine but just for clarity I don't think the winning/losing side of the game should be taken out. Even if the 'taking part' is the crucial element over the victory, from experience if scores are not recorded it negatively affects the game (players not getting back because it's easier to concede than to win the ball back!). That element of competitiveness must be retained I feel.

  • Comment number 32.

    The remarkable thing about the FA coaching and that of the SFA is that it is very highly regarded. It is well known that Moriniho did some of his badges at Largs in Scotland. Having run a youth football team for 10 years my feeling would be that the more highly trained coaches you produce the more that excellence will be nurtured and brought through.

    I think that the FA objectives are well thought out and if followed through will lead to a greater level of skill throughout all levels. We have just organised a coaching course with the SFA to get 14 of our under 17's squad through their level one certificates. The motivation behind this is twofold:

    1. I want them to help coach other kids throughout the club, especially in the younger age groups.

    2. I have found that the more I coach kids the better I understand the game and my skills improve so the more they actually think about coaching the kids the better players they will become.

    This is a very good forum with some excellent postings. If this initiative brings back a culture of excellence in football it will be fantastic, maybe a big ask, but surely now we are facing a time when we have to have the confidence of big dreams, just as long as we have the commitment to be the "dreamers of the day!"

    As a p.s. #3 states that, "To clarify further, there are probably a handful of managers that weren't footballers before e.g. Wenger, Mourinho and Benitez. I'd struggle to name anymore."

    That list seems to have 3 of the best 5 managers of the past 10 years so I don't quite see your point. We are talking about coaches here, some of whom will go onto be managers of professional clubs but many don't but still have an influence on the development of talent.

    On the basis of great coaches who did not play at the higest levels, Simon Clifford brought through "Futebol de Salo" which both Rooney and Milner did in their youth and Wiel Coever was certainly not a grade one player. Both of these guys developed coaching techniques that have been massively instrumental in developing talent.

  • Comment number 33.

    Morning all, thanks for reading and extra special thanks for posting such thought-provoking comments and anecdotes. Here are a few replies from me (apologies for brevity but I've got to be on my way soon):

    Radebe_Raver_1988 (1) - Good luck with the course. How much does the FAW charge? I'd be interested to know if there's much price differentiation for these courses across the UK. The London FA appears to charge £140 for L1 and £325 for L2. All the best in the States too. 17 years ago I had an opportunity to coach 'soccer' at a summer camp in upstate NY and I turned it down. I've regretted it ever since.


    malt (2) - I'm sorry to hear that but I'm even sorrier to say that I've heard that quite a few times before. 1) that it's still case of get your medals out and 2) that many clubs pay lip-service to the academy concept and totally neglect things like age-specific coaching. I intend to come back to this subject in future blogs so I will have more to say on this in the weeks/months ahead.

    TheAmj (3) - I think the example of guys like Mourinho, Benitez, Houllier and Wenger has actually started to change attitudes here. We have always known that the best players don't necessarily make the best coaches/managers but those guys have almost taken it a step further - you don't even really need to have been much of a player at all. Clearly we have a long way still to go on this front but I think we're moving in the right direction. That's not to say we should pretend that ex-players can't become great coaches/managers (because let's face it, they have enormous headstarts over the rest of us and fantastic personal experience to tap into) but I think it's important to realise that great coaches are more like great teachers than anything else. Great conductors don't necessarily make the best piano teachers and fighter aces aren't always great flying instructors.

    Chuck Norris is a Stoke fan (4...is that true, btw?) - Coaches with qualifications above L2 are normally considered 'senior'. So Uefa B, A and then Pro Licence (or L3, L4 and L5). Top-flight managers are now encouraged to get to at least L4.

    Littlefork (6) - Thanks for posting that. Tony Carr (West Ham's academy boss) is one of English football's unsung heroes and I'd definitely like to interview him in the near future. Reading that back reminded me that I forgot to answer TheAmj's question about whether I still think youngsters should be encouraged to think more about learning basics properly, developing skills and enjoying the game, rather than concentrating on winning. The answer is yes!

    Buckosboots (8) - Again, another interesting point. I fear you're right re: Jose M and getting a break in this country.

    Frank Ford (10) - Can't disagree with much of that (in fact I strongly agree with your point about youngster playing on adults pitches - ridiculous) but I will say that you're not as alone in thinking that as you think. There are very senior voices at the FA and elsewhere making the same case. I'd like to say a bit more now - if for no other reason than your post deserves more discussion - but I've got to dash. I will be addressing those points in the blogs I want to write about my coaching experiences in the coming weeks/months.

    But before I go, I should probably provide you with the very latest stats on coaching numbers in this country. The numbers I quoted before were from 2008. It seems Les Howie was right and the gap is closing. There are nos 4,349 Uefa-qualified coaches in England (B, A & Pro) so that's a pretty big increase in 2 years. There are also nearly 7,000 L2s, which is perfectly adequate for the vast majority of us.

    Anyway, thanks again for reading.

  • Comment number 34.

    Hi I'm a ref in Jersey and also a level 1 coach, I coach under 10 kids and get more satifaction as they respect what you tell them. as for reffing the Adults are set in their ways so wont change how they feel towards ref's. Therefore the FA need to work harder to get te message across. So I recomend be a coach you can go home at night and not worry.

  • Comment number 35.

    I coached for an Organization in the USA named 'Beachside' and they had 5,000 kids on their books throughout Connecticut.
    Their Organization was something to behold and I think the FA should look at them and possibly use them as a Blue Print for what we need to do in this country.
    At grassroots level in the UK I have never seen anything that comes close to what 'Beachside' has achieved.
    I would attend two nights of coaching per week and matches at the weekend for Beachside throughout the Spring and Fall seasons.
    The kids would all arrive ready to train dressed in exactly the same dress code and have their bags and water bottles lined up ready for practice. Not a hair out of place and this was the first sign of commitment and discipline that would pave the future for these children.
    The Director/Head Coach was Mickey Kydes ex USA national player and he has started a legacy that will continue for many years.
    Even the great Jurgen Klinsmann is a fan of the USA coaching system and I am convinced that it will not be long before the USA overtake us in a relatively short period of the world Football/Soccer scene.
    The USA do not have the infrastructure in place for those talented kids to join semi pro or top class adult leagues, and that is where they need to grow.
    We forget that Soccer/Football is a new game to the USA and has struggled to compete with their other major sports.
    I would love to see Mickey Kydes work for the FA in setting up a UK foundation and system similar to what he is doing in the USA.

  • Comment number 36.

    Hi I'm a ref in Jersey and also a level 1 coach, I coach under 10 kids and get more satifaction as they respect what you tell them. as for reffing the Adults are set in their ways so wont change how they feel towards ref's. Therefore the FA need to work harder to get te message across. So I recomend be a coach you can go home at night and not worry.
    all the best from sunny Jersey

  • Comment number 37.

  • Comment number 38.

    Some excellent comments on an article that is close to my heart but sadly I agree with all of those who mention the "jobs for the boys attitude".

    I'm a Level 3 qualified coach with numerous other coaching certs to supplement it (GK, Psychology, fitness etc).

    My story started some years ago when I won a bursary to change my lifestyle and I threw myself into the coaching environment trying desperately to get my dream job coaching with a decent side. I quit my day job and started contracting to free up the time and made rapid progress through my certifications all the time writing to countless pro and semi pro clubs academies and community programmes trying to get experience and applying for coaching positions with soccer schools.

    I had very limited success with this but sufficient to do all of the experience required to pass the certifications.

    Sadly I'm still actually looking for a paid position, and one within which I can progress to the Level 4 (full A license) but doors are simply closed. I've subscribed (at some cost I might add) to the various football job specific web sites and constantly scour the FA Regional pages but with no joy, save a couple of rejections where they have said I don't have the experience....I've applied to the FA for the interview to get on the A license course but they don't seem to have the courtesy to respond to even that.

    I'm getting a little frustrated to be honest, I'm as determined as ever and will keep trying but it irks me to see the FA pushing all of this propaganda when the opportunities simply aren't there.

    50,000 more Level 1's (which lets face it is a gimme) is not the answer. More funded positions, better centre of excellences, with more opportunities for coaches as well as players, things like that are what's needed. Maybe the Premier League should dig it's hand in it's pocket for the national game for once.

  • Comment number 39.

    I'm a referee in Australia. I know it's a different country, but we have a HUGE shortage of referees in my area. In my area, about 30 referees have to cover around 20-odd different clubs, from U12s up to seniors provisional league 1. For those of us who are looking to ref, you will have to go through 4 levels (this is the same world-wide). Because it's my first season, I'm a level 4. If you are thinking of refereeing, it averages out to about 20 quid per hour. It's pretty bloody good.

    But I've got huge plans for my refereeing. I'm only 17 and I've already got over 30 games done. My dream would be to referee in the EPL one day. Most EPL refs are around 30 odd right? I hope I might make it one day.

  • Comment number 40.

    Nice 1 LFC_Giant - totally agree with you. If the FA wish to make grassroots football more professional, then make it a profession, ie employ officials.
    I am heavily involved in grassroots soccer, running a village junior club with 80 kids on the books this season. I coach a team in which my son does not play anymore as his other team(a higher standard team than the one I coach) train at the same time as we play our matches. I also serve on 2 League committees, one as League Welfare Officer involving alot of time and effort. Together with our (unpaid) coaches, we prepare pitches, put out Respect barriers, corner flags, referee our matches and put in countless hours of administrative duties which the FA deem necessary to run a kids' football team. The FA seem intent on making clubs jump through hoops and pay to do so, to adhere to their new rules and regulations to remain a Charter Standard club(eg Level 1 coaching courses at a 140 quid a pop, to say nothing of CWO courses, CRB checks(only FA ones allowed irrespective if you already have another one), and those ridiculous "unfit for purpose Respect barriers". I agree totally that kids should be looked after by responsible people and educated in the art of football but if the FA truly think that by recruiting thousands more coaches will eventually improve the game at the highest level then they are very naive. Only with an improved structure at grassroots level with paid posts will they ever get close to the German standards and those of other leading footballing nations. The cynic in me says 50,000 coaches at 140 pounds plus 8,000 refs at 100 pounds each adds up to 7.8m pounds....that's alot of yellow and red cards....
    Good luck with the course!

  • Comment number 41.

    This blog really strikes a cord with me as someone who is currently volunteering at grass roots level.
    I found the Level 1 course very very basic and dont believe it equips anyone to actually coach youth football.
    Like previous posters have suggested - its concern is around first aid, child safety and session organisation.
    It is useful however as an easy way to get into football, once on the course you will have your eyes opened about what qualifications and pathways are open to you from there - whether thats the newer "Age Appropriate" modules or the "Level" style ones.
    The age Appropriate modules i took attempt to change the coaching philosophy, lots of talk about:
    Increasing the fun element
    Increasing choices and options for young players to make
    Reducing stress and pressure from adults
    Removing the fear of failure
    Encouraging creativity
    Development of basic skills
    All the positive things mentioned in previous posts - this ethos is what inspired me to go out and start volunteering my free time with a grass roots club.
    My problem is that now im at a crossroads.
    Do i continue to commit more of my time and money into taking courses only to continue to work for free at grass roots?
    This talk of trying to change from within or from the bottom up is only useful if actual paid employment becomes a realistic possibility for newly qualified coaches.
    The "jobs for boys" things is something i have heard many times before and, as i havent played for anyone but my school team im left wondering if i should continue to pursue coaching with a view to employment!!
    Id like to coach youth football full time and fully believe in developing their skills, creativity etc without trying to control and stifle them but ultimately im becoming increasingly concerned that despite my time and effort the jobs wont be there for coaches like myself.

    Chris @ #38 - particularly disheartening to read that but if this is the way of the world then better that i know now.

  • Comment number 42.

    I'm heartened by the comments (size of pitches, parents, pigeon-holing youngsters) on here, and with more of you in the system things will change over the next decade.

    I also think we need to think about the environment in which kids can play with friends (not just when they are being coached). If you look at Brazil (as they consistently churn out 'flair' players) the children play in the street with a ball shaped object. Even here I read about bobby Charlton playing in the street with either a flat ball of a rolled up bunch of socks. Nowadays, children aren't allowed to play anywhere other than big open space parks (I know I'm generalising but in essence true) which doesn't encourage close control.

    Also pretty much every town no matter how small has a FA affiliated football team - this is a massively untapped network for coaching and scouting. How many potential footballers are missed in their early years because they are too far from London or the massive midland/northern cities (the FA's 90 minute rule despite the best of intentions hasn't helped).

    I've got plenty more to ramble about but will draw the line there!

  • Comment number 43.

    I am heavily involved in grassroots football, involved with a junior football club and sit on the committee of the biggest junior football league in East Lancashire.

    A few weeks ago I put this idea to some of the FA's top people who said they would pass it on to Les Howie.

    One of the problems with getting grassroots coaches is that many of the courses above Level 1, including the brilliant Youth Modules, are put on during the week. Many coaches cannot afford to pay the course fee AND take time off work.

    Anyway here's the idea:

    England players currently donate their match fee, which is just £1,500 per game, to charity.
    I wondered if they would get more good PR if they donated that fee, or some of it (we don't want the
    charities complaining) to sponsoring grassroots coaches. £1,500 a game would sponsor roughly 10
    grassroots coaches per player. A squad of 23 plus Mr Cappello could sponsor over 200 grassroots coaches per game.
    Just imagine how good it would be for Wayne Rooney say, to go back to the junior league he played in on Merseyside and sponsor 10 coaches. How thrilled would those coaches be to wear some form of apparel that said 'Sponsored by England's Wayne Rooney.
    In the days of 'pampered Premiership prima donnas' I think there is very good PR to be had on both sides.

    My other point is this:

    The current Level 1 is not particularly suitable for coaching very young players say from 5-11. Unfortunately
    you have to have Level 1 BEFORE you can do Youth Module 1. It is these new Youth Modules that will change the way kids are coached and football is played in this country. We need more coaches to do THESE courses.
    I did the very first Youth Module 2 last October. Like Youth Module 1 it is a brilliant course. I was the ONLY grassroots coach on the course all the rest (good lads) were from Pro clubs. As far as I know we still have less that 300 coaches with Youth Module 2. THe FA are just rolling out Youth Module 3.

    To change football we do need lots more UEFA A and B coaches, but the damage done to our kids happens BEFORE they get involved with this standard of coaching. We need good grassroots coaches fast tracked through the FA YOuth Modules if we are to catch up with Europe.

    So don't just do your Level !. Carry on and do the Youth Modules!

  • Comment number 44.

    Interesting blog but surely if you are good enough to be a national manager should you not be questioning whether England is the right team for you to manage. Take the patriotism out of it, it's a job that no-one can succeed in until the FA becomes the dominating governing body in English football. Our top managers should aim to coach other top European national teams if they want international success - managing England IS a career limiting move

  • Comment number 45.

    I see this blog has gone back to the 'English Manager' rubbish! The problem with the English game is that the men in suits will do anything to keep the Southern Media happy!

    The building of the new 'national?' stadium at an hugh cost is a classic example. 750m wasted when we have plenty adequate stadiums up and down the land! The money should have been used buying playing fields, equipment and paying to train coaches to an adequate level!

    Germany doesnt have a 'national stadium' as to say and they finish 2nd in the world cup! Spain the wordl champions have umpteen more world class coaches then we do and didn't need to waste 1billion euros on a new Wembley.

    We have people who would love the opportunity in this country to coach at all levels who cant afford the time or money to do it and an FA cares sweet FA about them.

  • Comment number 46.

    Well I have to, as a lot of you have already, agree with #2 Malt.
    I work in an office environment and spend 2-3 nights a week coaching kids/adults, male/female and have worked at a League 1 club. After completing my UEFA B 3 yrs ago, I have absolutley no interest in going any futher.
    The reason?
    The attitude of some of the coaches and, more importantly, the old boys network.

    In what other work environment would you be able to leave one job and then go to another and take your team with and then tell your boss that they don't need to be interviewed as "it's okay, their with me, I'll vouch for them." None.

    Am I bitter - No.
    Am I disappointed that the F.A. don't see things like this go on - Yes

    I agree that there are some very good tutors out there but the majority of the ones I spent time with were dinosaurs living in the 70s.

    In fact, I don't think I passed because of them - I passed in spite of them.

  • Comment number 47.

    5 years ago now I qualified as a referee and signed up with the local Saturday league. I ref when City are away and it is good fun, though I miss playing a bit.

    So, when I saw that the FA were launching their get into football campaign I thought that perhaps coaching would allow me to be a little more involved. However, despite registering for alerts and updating my records every year, I have received no information about courses and coasts. The central FA directs you to your County FA and mine, the NRCFA has a section titled 'get into football, with options of find a club, become a referee, and get into coaching. The get into coaching section has been under construction for two years.

    People want to be involved but like anything at the FA, it is not straight forward

  • Comment number 48.

    5 years ago now I qualified as a referee and signed up with the local Saturday league. I ref when City are away and it is good fun, though I miss playing a bit.

    So, when I saw that the FA were launching their get into football campaign I thought that perhaps coaching would allow me to be a little more involved. However, despite registering for alerts and updating my records every year, I have received no information about courses and coasts. The central FA directs you to your County FA and mine, the NRCFA has a section titled 'get into football, with options of find a club, become a referee, and get into coaching. The get into coaching section has been under construction for two years.

  • Comment number 49.

    I've played amaeteur football all my life and thepleasure and joy it has given me inpired me to take my Level 1 coaching badge when an injury meant I couldn't play for a yr and gave me some free time. The course was excellent, well run and well attended.

    Having got my badge I started co-coaching the Under 8's team of a local club on sat mornings, with the other coach taking the games on a Sunday. It was fantastic, the kids were enthusiastic with properly planned sessions meant they had a great time while also learning skills of the game.

    The problem came a few months later when I took a game on the Sunday. In a round robin with two other teams in the league, we were resoundly beaten by both other teams but the kids wee encouraged by improvements seen on previous weeks. When I reffed the other game however, the level of abuse form the parents to me, the opposition and even their own players was staggering. I know it sounds cliched but the parents were atrocious; acusations of elbows being used, diving and time wasting - these were Under 8s'! If this was occuring they had probably learnt it form them. One parent was even effing and blinding at his own child for making a mistake.

    Despite the fact our team were beaten twice they certainly looked the happier going home than the other kids. I've since learnt tactics to reduce this but to be honest it put me off getting further involved and I have not returned since going back to playing myself.

    This demonstrates another problem with youth football in this country - even at this level success is measured entirely by match results rather than the development of the players and by how much they enjoy it.

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    I've played amaeteur football all my life and thepleasure and joy it has given me inpired me to take my Level 1 coaching badge when an injury meant I couldn't play for a yr and gave me some free time. The course was excellent, well run and well attended.

    Having got my badge I started co-coaching the Under 8's team of a local club on sat mornings, with the other coach taking the games on a Sunday. It was fantastic, the kids were enthusiastic with properly planned sessions meant they had a great time while also learning skills of the game.

    The problem came a few months later when I took a game on the Sunday. In a round robin with two other teams in the league, we were resoundly beaten by both other teams but the kids were encouraged by improvements seen on previous weeks. When I reffed the other game however, the level of abuse form the parents to me, the opposition and even their own players was staggering. I know it sounds cliched but the parents were atrocious; acusations of elbows being used, diving and time wasting - these were Under 8s'! If this was occuring they had probably learnt it form them. One parent was even effing and blinding at his own child for making a mistake.

    Despite the fact our team were beaten twice they certainly looked the happier going home than the other kids. This experience has put me off getting further involved and, more worryingly, encouraging my own kids to play as they get older. Why would I want to expose them to that environment, rugby seems a better alternative

    This also demonstrates another problem with youth football in this country - even at this level success is measured entirely by match results rather than the development of the players and by how much they enjoy it.

  • Comment number 52.

    I could just echo all the sentiments here about the old boys network as another coach trying to make it not having played to a high standard, however I think its all been covered, so I'll come at this from a different angle.

    My first question is: does anyone know if it is any different in the other major european countries? We heard all about there being so many more qualified coaches, but how many of them are employed on a full-time basis as coaches? Are the top coaching jobs (not managerial) going to qualified coaches or ex-players?

    On the note about level 1 being a course in child safety I totally agree, plus its not particularly relevant to coaching kids under 11. Apparently the new youth award is better suited, but I want to advocate the Scottish FA's breakdown of coaching awards. They have separate ones for coaching 5-11 year olds, 12-18 year olds and 18+. Thats a good break down and the very lowest level certificates take less than a day, are actually RELEVANT and pretty cheap. They also have a great scheme where if you volunteer a certain number of hours at a local club then you get refunded your course cost.

  • Comment number 53.

    Football's the only sport where parents and spectators shout advice to their aspiring Ronaldos while the game's in progress. In cricket, you don't get dads shouting "Next ball, hit it for six over the bowler's head and keep a straight bat!" I wish all parents and spectators - and coaches! - would encourage, not criticise and definitely NOT coach!
    As they teach you on the courses, "Let the game be the teacher"

  • Comment number 54.

    #50 thundhey

    eh??

  • Comment number 55.

    #50 thundhey

    eh??

  • Comment number 56.

    #54. Agreed

    #50, Am I missing something or are you just blatently advertising your nonesense to people who don't care? Suggest you find a fossil fuel/Gardening forum instead. My 'complain about this comment' link doesn't appear to be working...

  • Comment number 57.

    to #41 @off-the-post

    It really depends on what you want to get out of your coaching. I love coaching, I love football, it is unquestionably my passion but there is a harsh underlying reality that is it is incredibly difficult to break into the senior game as an unknown. You could be the best coach in the world and you'd likely never get to showcase your talent. You're always relying on someone to give you a chance.


    Irregardless of what you decide to do I would encourage everyone who has done level 1 to do their level 2 at the least, it's a big step up and will test your commitment to coaching.

    The Youth modules also look promising but County FA availability for these is not great in most areas, another thing the FA should look at. Maybe hiring more tutors to deliver courses.

  • Comment number 58.

    Rooney, Maradonna, Pele, Brady, Hoddle, Cryuff, Gazza, Best, Charlton, Giggs, Scholes played football when they were 6 years old, they played on street corners, against walls, in parks, at school, with tennis balls and basketballs and anything else that was spherical. They played until it was too dark to see the ball and they carried a football on the bus and played almost seven days of every week. Computers, cricket, obesity, cycling and many many more modern sports now compete with the numbers of children playing football. Coaching can be effective, good professional players and especially great players arrive at their destination under their own desires and steam. Knee jerk reactions and at what cost ?

  • Comment number 59.

    Rooney, Maradonna, Pele, Brady, Hoddle, Cryuff, Gazza, Best, Charlton, Giggs, Scholes played football when they were 6 years old, they played on street corners, against walls, in parks, at school, with tennis balls and basketballs and anything else that was spherical. They played until it was too dark to see the ball and they carried a football on the bus and played almost seven days of every week. Computers, cricket, obesity, cycling and many many more modern sports now compete with the numbers of children playing football. Coaching can be effective, good professional players and especially great players arrive at their destination under their own desires and steam. More knee jerk reactions and at what cost ?


  • Comment number 60.

    Cryuff, Gazza, Best, Rooney, Maradonna, Pele, Brady, Hoddle, Charlton, Giggs, Scholes played football when they were 6 years old, they played on street corners, against walls, in parks, at school, with tennis balls and basketballs and anything else that was spherical. They played until it was too dark to see the ball and they carried a football on the bus and played almost seven days of every week. Computers, cricket, obesity, cycling and many many more modern sports now compete with the numbers of children playing football. Coaching can be effective, good professional players and especially great players arrive at their destination under their own desires and steam. More knee jerk reactions and at what cost ?


  • Comment number 61.

    The need for an extra 32,000 coaches won't be to play catch up with the rest of Europe but the need for the FA to re-fill their coffers at approx £140 a time.

    The Arsene Wenger approach doesn't harm Arsenal, quite the opposite, but may detract from the FA's income. "Little Johnny's dad" might lose interest in buying the latest rip-off national shirt if his beloved gooners aren't english.

    Does any other national association own their own stadium? So many snouts in the trough, all jostling for postion.

  • Comment number 62.

    Im in my 8th year of football coaching in Cardiff. It is a rewarding experience, and very enjoyable. If it doesnt even help us close the gap to other countries in terms of senior international teams then its still worth anyone getting involved just to help kids who arent as talented as the young Rooney's of this world enjoy football. Also post 60, whilst there are more sports competing for people attentions, the idea is to coach players so there arent just one rooney, cruyff, maradona, best etc of each generation in this country and so we can try and produce a team of them. Something must be done for this to become a reality and I think this a good start...

  • Comment number 63.

    great report matt

    lots of comments are true I am a graduate of sport and exercise science and have my FA level 2 and want to move into professional coaching and there are no options to do this in england. I therefore tried to get my level three (UEFA B) but it was so difficult to arrange with not many courses available and they are all over the same time so summer. Due to this I signed up to go to america and have loved every minute, I get a company car work with all age groups helping the other coaches out and also get to be manager and coach of the U14, U16 and U18 teams.

    The problem with england is that people look at people on the face of their CV etc so professional footballers have a much better chance of getting the job however someone else might be a much better coach. The FA needs to try and offer more course at all levels if they want to catch other countries up.
    They also need to change their style look at holland they play on small pitches with large numbers so the kids can learn control short passes speed etc much better than teaching a kid to hit a long ball up to a tall striker and hope for them to flick it on it just doesnt work as our national team showed

  • Comment number 64.

    At the Emirates a few weeks back a Blackpool player INNOCENTLY conceded a penalty, he got sent off. At that moment the game became a NON CONTEST and an unjust drab affair. All those supporters that had travelled to the game spending their hard earned money wasted their money and their liesure time. TRANSPARENT time keeping procedures are required to give some value and justice to the current 60 minutes of ACTUAL ball in play for the exorbitant match fee. Malicious tackles. It is such issues that the administrators of the game need to focus on and not nationalistic knee jerk sympathies.

  • Comment number 65.

    I enjoy reading your blogs and i am currently a Journalism student who is looking for some tips from someone who knows about the business and wondering if u could help me out. i have just started a blog www.jblogger2.blogspot.com.

  • Comment number 66.

    I enjoy reading your blogs and i am currently a Journalism student who is looking for some tips from someone who knows about the business and wondering if u could help me out. i have just started a blog www.jblogger2.blogspot.com

  • Comment number 67.

    Listened to an top 4 team academy coach shout across the pitch calling his under 12 player a ’doughnut’ for not taking a corner the way he wanted, last week. Wonder what level he is? Levels mean nothing if you don’t know how to communicate with kids.

  • Comment number 68.

    I lost patience with the FA years ago. At the time I was working for a professional coaching company in the North West, had completed a City and Guilds coaching certificate and was coaching a local u-11 team, so I had considerable coaching experience at junior level.

    I had completed my FA lvl 1 certificate and decided to do my level 2 certificate. After completing a comprehensive booklet over several months I took the final exam over a full weekend only to be told that I failed because I 'talked too much'. On the course I was on 3 out of 30 passed, so if anyone wanted to retake the exam then they would have to pay to retake the exam. In my eyes it was a con designed to raise revenue for the FA. As a result I didn't bother going any further with the FA coaching badges as i didn't feel they were doing what was in the best interests of the coaches that give countless hours of their spare time to coach kids.

    To be frank, it left me with a sick feeling in my stomach about the 'money' culture in football over and above the needs of the grass roots footballers.

  • Comment number 69.

    Who on earth would want to work in a game which is corrupt from the top down, with the media obviously complicit?

  • Comment number 70.

    i'd like to echo what inside insidewrite says above, the Youth Awards are definately the way forward. Level 1 is more about child protection and a few ideas for training.

    The Youth Award gives some great coaching ideas, and an insight into child psychology.

    I've gone through Modules 1&2, but can't get 3 until i pass level 2. I think this is a bit of a stumbling block (due to time/work commitments). Maybe they can find a way that the Youth Awards are on the same strand

  • Comment number 71.

    I have my level 1 certificate which I achieved in 2007 with a premier league football club. I then decided to take my level 2 with my Local FA and what a mistake that was. An assessor who doesn't even watch your assessments, another one showing favoutism to another coach since he was a player who failed to make it at academy level.

    Then I tried the course again with another Local FA in another borough and experienced discrimination with the assessor saying "If you are not from a footballing background then you won't make it", well thats one way to put people off and clearly a contridiction of what the FA is trying to achieve.

    The FA have clearly made the decision that everyone wants to coach kids, U16's, well what about coaches who want to coach in the football league or coach Adults ?? Also if you don't come up with a policy to help our coaches with jobs/recruitment then you are going to have more coaches leave than the amount you are trying to recruit.

    Also how can you expect some clubs at grassroots level to operate if you close most of the funding opportunities. Then theres the whole issue of trying to find pitches to play on and getting volunteers as well to meet local FA policies.

    As for the development of our your players I would say we are at least 3-5yrs behind our european counterparts and looking at some of the players coming through now they don't look like they could be world class. There are lots of issues to mention here to many to talk about on this forum.

  • Comment number 72.

    I couldn't agree more with Malt in #2. Football is a closed shop industry and 'jobs for the boys' is spot-on.

    ---------

    Without going into politics, THAT is the way of most things in the UK. There is very little room for movement in what is - at all levels - a fairly rigid system.

    "You can be in if you are one of us, you cannot be in if you are NOT one of us".

    The problem is much deeper rooted in British society than the FA realise.

    Ironically much of Europe - but not the EU itself - works on a very different approach to this. Elitism is much less apparent on the continent. (Where I have lived and worked for the last 15 years). If you want to move up or down a notch in society - you can. It is both allowed and acceptable in a way in which it generally is not in the UK.













  • Comment number 73.

    I have heard that the Burton project has been terminated, and that the FA are now using a Venue / Conference Centre called Wokefield Park in Reading, Berkshire for all its training / coaching facilities.
    Perhaps this is a big step forward for the future development of coaches in this country?

  • Comment number 74.

    Great article Matt. I just play for my local team and have no experience of, or desire to coach. Although I have a lot of respect and admiration for those who give their time and effort to help others improve the beautifil game.

    Going from what the majority of posters here have said, the number of possible coaches who want to progress is out there, but the factors stopping them from doing so all lie with the FA. The cost, the rigid and unworkable time issues, the old boys club, the philosophy, the lack of employment at the end of the day added with better prospects abroad.

    I agree completey with the posters who encourage the shorter passing game, let kids express themselves and try flicks and tricks, they may not always work but they shouldn't be condoned for the effort. Playing kids in all positions gives them a broader understanding of the game and improves their positional sense. Keeping games competetive is good and means they are spirited, but a winning at all costs attitude is what has lead the game into disripute with cheating (diving, feigning injury etc) now an acceptable part of the game, mastered by the professionals and copied by those who idolize them.

  • Comment number 75.

    Brixton takes over 10 years to build....

    Looking at Germany, they built about 10 Brixton's nationwide after their 'flops' in WC98 and Euro2000

    England needed to do this about 12 years ago.... why has it not been built yet?

    despite this clear lack of advancement... the national team will still go into Euro2012 as favourites (only to be demolished by the likes of Italy/Spain/Germany who's facilities are WAY above England's

    sort out the development and then maybe we can follow a decent national team!

  • Comment number 76.

    the faw do all the little bits seperately so not really sure what the price is in total. maybe you can work it out on their website.

    http://www.welshfootballtrust.org.uk/coaching


    usa soccer camps are probably an excellent chance for aspiring coaches to try their luck and see how they get on with it, i cant wait till june 2011 now, 12 weeks of coaching out there should be amazing!

  • Comment number 77.

    I have been reading the comments and most have valid points.. I was studying in the UK and did my level 2 then went to America (as every young coach does) to try and improve on my skills and learn by doing everyday. Little did i know, most of it is a baby sitting course for most of the camps. I was lucky enough to get a job working for LA Galaxy or a few weeks and that was very informative plenty of skills coaching about for a new coach to learn (steel) from. Anyway.. I came back to the UK and did a little community coaching to find it was going nowhere fast, If your not an ex pro your not getting in, it is so clicky in the UK and football in general, It not what you know, it who you know.

    SO i kept at it and get an invite to go and teach in CHINA!!! I know alarm bells. I had not even considered Asia as a place where I could go.. long story short! i went over to work for a company called ChinaCLubFootball, best decision I have ever made, teaching really kids (at times) worked with 7 premiership clubs and have taken a group of kids to the UK to play against some of the best Academies in the UK notably Celtic, Liverpool and Charlton the kids in The UK were better, but only because most of my players had only been playing for about a year.. But the main problem was the UK staff/coaches were not up to scratch in my eyes and even their own players eyes. The classes were dull uninformative and not what i was expecting to see.
    I thought i would learn so much and have a massive amount of information but .... nothing new!!! 25 minutes of warm ups with no balls sitting down for 5 minutes with so much information thrown at you you need photographic memory and coaches with about as much enthusiasm as an old brick!!And these were ex pros and level 3/4 coaches.
    I need to do my level 3 fast! as it has been 3 years now and i need that peace of paper to say I can get a better job, but that is all it is these days, a peace of paper. You can get it so easily if your a somebody but if your not, you really need to work at it and go above and beyond to get a chance in something you just love. I am lucky in china, i get paid well i have a good living and am teaching better and better kids each year!!!

    China and Asia Is the future for sports and football and when the Chinese decide some of their 1.3 billion people will win the World Cup, believe me it will happen.

    good luck Football lovers!!!! get to Asia!!!!

  • Comment number 78.

    formerly of this parish Chris Charles has an excellent new blog about life in the football league.

    http://www.football-league.co.uk/page/ChrisCharlesBlog/0,,10794~2164032,00.html

  • Comment number 79.

    In terms of number of coaches in the UK, are you confident that the notion of sheer quantity, which you advocate, is sufficient to enable us to 'catch up' with those countries that have demonstrated how much better than us they are in the last ten World Cups ? How do you ensure that the quality of coaching can match that quantity ?

    Serious Football

  • Comment number 80.

    Of course, what Matt Slater says in his follow-up comments, is right, you don't necessarily need to have done it yourself to be able to pass on, coach, teach: you need to be a good listener, communicator and to have an unusually astute way of thinking. Spending time with people who are among the best, as the coaches Matt cites have done, is clearly a critical factor.

    Serious Football

  • Comment number 81.

    i have done my level 2 football coaching course however, during my assessment i was one of the 60% failed, and there was 29 of us in the group who was being assessed! it seems that the FA should up the pass rate to get more coaches! rather than let people spend their money (in my case £250, just to fail a course, you are probably thinking that my session was rubbish, but it wasn't. The feedback i got from my peers, they said it was a perfect session. Even some who missed out a part of the course still passed!) It's just not cricket!

  • Comment number 82.

    with reference to quote #81, I too have just failed my level 2 assessment along with 15 others, class size 19, and feel the FA have used me as a banknote. The whole course was a shambles discussing everything from women players, lesbians according to my assessor, to clubs beginning with the letter d. I was advised by the trainer not to use offside in my game and failed the course because as the assessor said' I didnt play offside' So one says one thing one says another. I would love to meet Trevor Brooking and show him how the world is outside of his FA rose-tinted glasses but these people can not be contacted. I will continue on my university degree course in sports science and then move abroad, anywhere, to use the skills learnt.
    FA, the initials sum up this organisation!!

 

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