Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

The Future of Soccer Coaching

Last night I attended a lecture by Sir Trevor Brooking at the University of Surrey. This was the second annual Allan Wellsdwyer-2.jpg Sports Lecture and was hosted by former Tottenham and Crystal Palace player Gary O’Reilly.

I really enjoyed the lecture. Sir Trevor was there to talk about his role as Director of Football Development at the English FA. For those of you who don’t know, he took the role on in 2004 and was charged with the task of conducting a root-and-branch review of the structure of the game in England, from grassroots minis football through to the top level of the Premier League and the national team.

He identified the key issues in youth coaching as:

•    lack of core skills such as ball control
•    inadequate and inconsistent coaching
•    parental touchline interference
•    respect and behaviour of players towards each other and match officials.

I couldn’t agree more and I suspect that these views are shared by many people who read Better Soccer Coaching.

And he wasn’t exclusively towing the FA party line. He acknowledged that there is the potential for conflict of interest within the governance of the FA and the interests of professional clubs. This idea should not be dismissed and has concerned me for a few years. Any conflict of interest at this level has potential implications for how you and I operate as grassroots coaches.

For example, there are plans in place for dealing with ill-discipline at grassroots and youth level but these seem at odds with the approach to the same issue in the Premier League. There are many who believe that the behaviour of our high profile players should be addressed in the first instance, but the FA don’t seem quite so keen to take the same stance at that level. Anyway, that’s the subject of another blog.

Next week Sir Trevor launches the FA’s National Game Strategy which will apparently be a blueprint for the future to deal with these issues. I’ll report back on its contents then.

But he wasn’t there just to talk FA business. He recognized that a great many of the audience were lifelong West Ham Utd fans who consider him a near-deity.

He told a few stories of his playing days and talked with great warmth about how he learned to play as a boy. He talked about jumpers for goalposts on the grass behind the street where he was raised. He described how he taught himself to be two-footed by playing with a tennis ball and aiming between two drainpipes in the yard of the terraced-house where he lived.

And Arsenal supporters will be pleased to know that he finally admits that he knew very little about the header than won the 1980 FA Cup Final for West Ham Utd.

Dwyer Scullion, Publisher, Better Soccer Coaching


1 Comment so far
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I can’t wait to start this school in September.

Comment by Corve DaCosta

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