Hednesford 5’s Pavillion
Upon arrival at the venue there were other candidates waiting to gain access to the building. I noticed a few familiar faces that settled my nerves straight away. One of them being Nigel Latimer, who has done work previously at Lane Head football club. Can't wait to get started!
The first part of the course saw us reflect on our coaching journey which we openly discussed in small groups. It was great to listen to everyone’s journeys with everyone coming from different backgrounds. This includes academy to grassroots.
I knew straightaway that there was a different level of coaches in the room, each with a different philosophy about the game.
I spent time discussing my own personal journey from U7’s to U16’s, currently with Lane Head FC in the Walsall league.
We have 3 course tutors, Ronnie Reason, Nigel Latimer and Will Ryder. All have a wealth of knowledge and experience that we can all lean from.
All the tutors throughout Block 1 have been supportive and reassuring, not only to me, but all candidates on the course. The tutors have made us all aware that although we are on the course together, we all have different philosophy's, mind sets and outlooks.
The first workshop saw us deliver one of our own sessions that we had been asked to prepare before the course. The group has been split into 3 tutor groups with a tutor being assigned to each group. Nigel Latimer is the tutor of my group and it was decided that my session was to be demonstrated to the whole group.
I chose the topic ‘playing out from the back’ and after being nervous before my delivery, I think the session went ok. The observers gave me positive and constructive feedback which was openly received.
We then moved on to 2 sessions by delivered by the tutors. Ronnie delivered a session around 'creating space to maintain possession’ and Nigel delivered a session around ‘compactness in defence’. Both sessions were complete eye openers and gave us the insight into the level that we need to achieve.
With discussing who we are and how we coach, along with in and out of possession, day 1 was complete.
Day 2 started a lot more relaxed with us all getting to know one another better. We now know what we have to cover, 18 coaching sessions, 18 coaching/match day sessions, along with individual player profiles. We would also be covering our own players 4 corers and our own clubs DNA.
The day saw us look at some video performance analysis which I found really enjoyable and informative. Whist we were watching the video we were each asked to follow a particular player of our choice, covering the player details both in and out of possession.
FA Coach Developer Anthony Ferguson was also in attendance on Day 2 and he gave a great speech, not only about football but about who we are as coaches. It was almost like a mentor, in depth but fun. He was brilliant!
In the afternoon of Day 2 we went into tutor sessions where Will covered ‘denying possession in the final third’ and Ronnie covered ‘playing out from the back’. This was the topic I delivered the previous day and to see his variation was an eye opener. Both of the sessions were informative and will develop my learning and help my coaching with my U16’s.
Day 3 offered a different focus to the course as we looked at goalkeeping with National Goalkeeping Coach and former player Martin Thomas. Martin covered a variety of topics through both theoretical and practical sessions which included warm ups and game specific practices. Martin was a fantastic tutor.
Before Block 2 took place I had an in-situ visit from Nigel at one of my U16’S training sessions. The topics I covered were ‘defending in wide areas’ and ‘creating and scoring.’ The visit was followed up with feedback from Nigel where he highlighted key aspects of my strengths and areas of development.
Block 2 consisted of working with units within units and covering constraints and blended practice. Player development needs, practice design, and coaching/player philosophy were also included allowing us to adopt a good rationale when delivering our sessions.
Having missed out on the practical sessions in Block 1 due to injury it was great to get involved in Block 2.
Topics covered throughout the day were ’attacking through central areas’ and ‘creating and scoring.’ We were split from our groups and put into secondary tutor groups to work alongside others with a similar topic. Following this we went into further video analysis of some tutor sessions from Block 1.
On the whole, Block 1 and Block 2 of the UEFA B have been not only enjoyable but mentally challenging throughout. Having learnt so much and now applying this to my coaching sessions, I am already looking forward to the following blocks.