The curtain came down on the first season of the Notts FA coaches club at St Georges Park on Saturday 28th July.
We welcomed over 40 coaches to the National Football centre for a day of updates, guest speakers, practical workshops, a great lunch and a tour of the centre. The coaches arrived to coffee and pastries and they got the chance to catch up with their colleagues and our staff, for many of them it was their first time at SGP and we think they left realising what a fantastic place it is.
Football Development Officers Fiona Cantwell and Tim Jones are responsible for the delivery of the Coaches Club, and they started by outlining just how successful the 1st year had been since the launch event last September. Fiona explained the difference the Coaches Club has made by delivering a range of engaging, varied and thought provoking CPD events throughout the season. You can see from the image below the difference it has made.
Our first guest speaker was Kevin Nicholson, who at 29 became the youngest pro licence coach in the country. He outlined his own personal journey, the highlights and the challenges he has faced along the way and he spoke about the people who have been a major influence on his journey. He paid tribute to the late Dick Bate, who took him to Cardiff to work with the U23s, and told us what a great mentor he had been, as well as being a phenomenal coach.
Kevin also explained how important it was to remember that as a coach, you are developing not only the footballer, but the person as well.
Fiona hosted a Q&A session with Kevin to finish off his insightful and enlightening presentation. Kevin is hungry for the next challenge in his coaching career, and we at Nottinghamshire FA all wish him well for wherever that is. If you want to follow Kevin’s progress, you can follow him on Twitter @kevinicholson1.
After a really great lunch provided by the staff at the Hilton at SGP, we moved out onto the David Beckham pitch for the afternoon’s practical workshops. It was a great turn out from Eastwood CFC U16 and U18s who were ready and waiting for the arrival of the coaches. Many thanks to Alan Ure and his players, for giving up their time on a Saturday afternoon, we hope you enjoyed your visit to the SGP.
FA Tutor Richard Allen and FA Coach Mentor Alex Trukan are both coaches at the Nottingham Forest Academy. They delivered a session which looked at playing with an underload, which they argued was more realistic to the game than playing with an overload, they led the players through a session which brought out the topic and there were lots of things for the coaches to consider.
Due to the number of players available, our County Coach Developer Chris Dowhan put on an 11v11 practice, concentrating on wide play. This was something different for the coaches as it isn’t often that coaches in the grassroots game have 2 full teams and a whole pitch to work in.
Chris was looking at wide play, and concentrated on working with the number 7 and how they combine with the 9 and 10, as he set up the team to play with 2 strikers.
We only had a brief spell of rain during the 2 hours on the pitch, after which we made our way back inside to be met by more tea and coffee, this time accompanied by flapjack and cake.
Tim then introduced our guest for the afternoon session, Charlie McParland. Charlie answered questions, covering his time as a player, coach and manager. He kept the audience entertained for an hour with stories from his time in football, with a real emphasis on the period after he finished playing.
Charlie gave us his views on coach development, and how important it is to set the right environment for your players, at whatever level they play. He told us that Notts County’s legendary manager Jimmy Sirrel was the best coach he had played for or worked with in all of his time.
He talked us through his time as caretaker manager at Nottingham Forest when him and Frank Barlow nearly performed a miracle when they just missed out on the play-offs in 2006. He told us about the pressures of being a manager, and how much he enjoyed working with Roy Keane at Ipswich.
At 4 o’clock Rich and Alex took the coaches on a tour of the facilities at SGP. It really is a wonderful place if you love football, and love coaching.
So in summary we had a great day, at a great place, with some great guests and presenters. We really think that the event was a great way to finish our first season, and we look forward to welcoming more of you to our events next season!
Have a great rest of the summer.
Fiona and Tim
If you would like to see the photos from the event, follow this link.