If you are a member of the FA Licensed Coaches Club (FALCC), you will know that to maintain your licence as a coach you need to do a certain amount of FA CPD hours each year. FA Level 1 coaches need to complete a minimum of 3 hours while FA Level 2 and above need to complete 5 hours minimum, this can be achieved through attending FA coaching courses or specific CPD events such as the FA Licensed Coaches Club Conference.
The FA and The FALCC must be commended on what they have achieved in their aim to professionalise coaching in England. The FALCC website is an outstanding resource for youth football coaches, however – does all CPD need to be completed as logged hours through the FA?
Absolutely not, is the simple answer.
Coaches in the modern game need to be proactive, we need to look after ourselves and push ourselves to develop and educate each other. We believe that coaches, no matter what level you work at, should be exploring as many different types of CPD as possible in order to help expand on the fantastic knowledge and guidance the FA provide on their CPD and coaching courses.
So, how do you take charge of your CPD? What exactly can you do?
Many coaches believe that CPD is expensive and difficult to fit into their hectic schedule. But, Have you been out to watch other coaches at your club (or another club) work? Have you organised a coaches get together to share ideas and good practice within your club? Have you looked through YouTube at all the examples of coaching and coach education on there? These are all inexpensive examples of taking charge of your CPD while also working around your busy day or week.
There are of course other ways of educating yourself as a coach that require a little investment. For example, using coaching websites like The Coaching Manual or Inside Soccer. These websites provide high quality video of top coaches working with their players. The Coaching Manual also offer podcasts with relevant well known names in youth development, they offer session plans, nutritional advice and a coaching forum. All very useful for a small fee paid yearly. There are free options, many coaches run their own blog or website, Dan Wright, Michael Worthington, Hugo Langton and Ben Bartlett, to name a few. All sites include fantastic content, some downloadable information and great insights into how they all work.
Reading books and coaching publications is a very effective way of educating yourself on various coaching and related topics. There are several fantastic coaching books available at very affordable prices by coaches that use Twitter, We featured Ray Power’s “Making the ball roll”, others include books by Gary Curneen “The modern soccer coach 2014″ or “The way forward” by Matt Whitehouse. There are many, many books available on Amazon that will help you develop as a coach. Away from the game, there are several topics you can read up on such as leadership, the acquisition of skill and working with different learning styles to help you improve as a coach. As well as football/soccer related books it is also worth reading into other sports such as Rugby, Basketball or American Football.
Look out for information on coaching conferences too. Inspire Football Events are now running coach education conferences nationally which involve guest speakers talking on various coaching topics from tactical periodization to football psychology. Don’t forget the FALCC, if you are a licensed coaches club member you can get discounted tickets for the three day event at St Georges Park just before Christmas.
Sometimes, simply engaging in conversation on Twitter (@CoachingFamily) can provide useful CPD for coaches. We share a lot of fantastic content sent to us by coaches on a daily basis. It is your choice whether what is shared is useful to you or not.
It is a general perception that many professional football club academies are very closed door organisations. This is not necessarily the case, we must understand that professional academies only have a certain amount of staff and organising visits for grassroots coaches can be difficult as the coaches are very busy people with the increase in paperwork they need to do off the coaching pitches now due to the EPPP. I have been lucky enough to have met with some very open coaches at different clubs across England myself, and learned a great deal from each club I have been to. It is always worth asking the question, otherwise the answer will always be no. I know many clubs in the UK are now running grassroots coach education evenings/weekends which are normally free (some do charge a fee). Examples of clubs experimenting in this type of coach education include Wolves, Swansea, Chelsea, Manchester United, Celtic, and Cardiff. Liam attended an event at Wolves academy last season and came back with some brilliant insights into the great work Dan Bolas and his team do at the academy there. (Resources from that trip are available on this site).
We hope this piece will inspire you as youth coaches to get out there and avoid simply relying on the FA for coach education. Take charge, get out there, watch and speak to other coaches, research, read and never stop learning. We are key people, as coaches, in helping to develop better technical and tactically aware players in this country. Educate yourself so you can better understand and educate the players you work with.