By Mark Fogarty
Over the last 16years I have worked at many Professional clubs and in many capacities, from Dev coach, 9-16’s coach, youth team coach, Academy recruitment, first team recruitment etc.
I have met and watched many different coaches and observed many sessions, some good and some bad. During this time I also worked firstly as a coach Educator for the FA and then over the last 10 years, a Coach Educator for Premier Skills, founded by John Cartwright and Roger Wilkinson.
I used to put on sessions and follow a technical syllabus, but the questionS that I kept asking myself were ” have I really affected those kids? and how does that session link into the next one?” What exactly is this a part of? What are we trying to do?
I would always doubt myself because I wanted to be the best. I kept coming back to the same old questions all of the time and it seemed so complicated and pointless sometimes. The questions were about the players of yesteryear and how was it that you could always reel off 4 or 5 creative ‘special’ players in every team.Then I’d ask myself “Where did they learn?, How did they learn?.
I always had a bee in my bonnet about why the game always came last as a kind of reward and when I could get away with it I’d play a game first and then coach around it.
The point is, these players of yesteryear practised playing the game!! Yes, it was that simple, repetition of the game itself which bought about self-correction and creative success.
I’ve loved my time learning with the FA and still do and more recently having just completed the new youth modules with the FA, levels 1 and 2 was pleasantly enthused by some of the content, which I recognised.
HOWEVER, when I was first introduced to PREMIER SKILLS and went through their levels 1 and 2 and so on under the tutelage of John and Roger, and then became a Coach Educator for them this was the 1st time that it all fitted together for me for the following reasons;
- It was simple.
- It was about Practising playing the game.
- It wasn’t about the coach.
- It was a part of a bigger picture- everything fitted together, session to session, level to level.
- Individuality started every course, it wasn’t mentioned once and then forgotten.
I have long held a desire to be an Academy Manager at a Professional Club so that I could make the Premier Skills work my syllabus, for the players to cover and for the coaches to work through the levels.
I know that by working and following this simple methodology of work that I would develop GREAT INNOVATIVE COACHES and SPECIAL PLAYERS. Coaches would know what they were trying to achieve and how it fitted into the next session/level.
As players moved up or down or from age group to age group, everybody would know where that player was in the syllabus and in their development, because of what they had already covered.
Like the players of yesteryear, we should be PRACTISING PLAYING and PLAYING WHAT WE’VE PRACTICED.
Premier Skills has a Practice Play methodology.
IT REALLY IS THAT SIMPLE!
What do you think?