As I mentioned in the previous post, myself, a friend and a couple of colleagues were enrolled onto the FA Level 1 course. I admit, it was very exciting at the time, meeting strange and random people, coming together to get skilled up in the magical world of coaching. I think it was 3 or 4 hours a night on a Monday night, a good 10 miles away from home.
On arrival, most people were wide eyed, had plans of taking over the coaching world and expected to be the next England coach. One of the guys from our club (more about him later on) who was a little bit on the slow side, to say the least, had announced to us all, that as soon as he completed his Level 1, he was setting up his own coaching company and leaving his position at the local council. Pete and I looked at each other, sighed and continued absorbing the information that we were given.
No disrespect to the Level 1 coaching certificate, but its not really about coaching at all, its about ethics, protecting the children involved in the coaches care. There is a massive place for this, and it should be required by every coach who gets involved in football, regardless if the club is a charter standard club or not. Yes, the course itself introduces a couple of sessions that you can deliver, however its not coaching in its own right, more organised games. I do think that the FA should rename this to “introduction to grassroots football” and then introduce a Level 1 coaching - maybe designed to allow new coaches into the system to put on useful warm ups, and simple drills. Yes, I know the FA have introduced the Youth Mods 1, 2 & 3, but at points up the coaching ladder, experience from the mainstream route and the youth route merge and come together very well.
Anyhow, as you can imagine, Pete and I (and the rest of the wannabe England managers) passed the assessment at the end of the course, which is a great start. What certainly helped me from the course, more than the content itself, was this gave us a route into the inner workings of the FA, gave us some contacts to work with and speak too.
For some strange reason, I felt compelled to know more and more about coaching - which is either OCD (can you say that without being politically incorrect) or stupid of me. I kept in touch with a couple of the lads from the course, and expected to see them on courses in the future, but as with many coaches who get involved, their either mums, dads, brothers, sisters, friends and have to jump thru the hoops to get a tick in the box for a charter standard club, or its the only amount of time they can allocate thru busy life styles and trying to balance work, life and junior grassroots football.
As part of other courses later on in my coaching timeline, I had to renew my 1st Aid certificate, and had to attend a Level 1 course to be able to pass it. Luckily I knew the tutor, so it was a familar face, but the group was exactly the same as the one we had when I first started out - wide eyed coaches, with plans of becoming the next England manager and starting their own coaching company up.
I accidentally fell into coaching. I had a few personal problems and was looking for something to concentrate on, and always fancied getting into football. From the outside, it was a catch 22 situation, you needed to be involved in a club to get on a coaching course (L1) but you really needed to have done the L1 to pick up a team - just to know the basics. By fortune, my local non league football club had started a junior section off, and after putting my name around and speaking to people, I was asked if I wanted to help coach a newly formed u11 team.
There were to be two teams under the same age bracket, the B division team, and my team which was to go into the division c of the not so local league. It appears that the local league had decided not to invite the club into their league, given the past history of some volunteers, and I suspect also down to the history of previous incarnation of the club, who was basically a local works club, but from a juniors perspective, cherry picked the best talent from the area. I guess local clubs just didn’t want there to be any possibility of this happening, so instead, we were a suburban town on the edge of a city littered with teams on all points on the compass.
Within a week, I was then asked to coach and manage the team - which I didn’t mind doing at all, after all, its all about motivating and treating the players correctly and respectfully, right?
I knew fine well I couldn’t do it all on my own, so managed to convince a couple new friends, also involved in the non league setup to join me and give a little back.
Once the season started, myself and Pete (looks like Peter Griffin from family guy) and a couple of others signed up for the Level 1 course. A couple of weeks pre-season with the kids and then a mad panic of trying to do “dummies guide to offside” with a bunch of kids who’ve never played 11aside before, some of which, never played a game of football before. Interesting stuff from day 1.