Daniel Farke - you've nothing to worry about! What happens on a Football Association coaching course?
PUBLISHED: 11:14 19 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:21 19 March 2019
Editor David Powles may not be the next Daniel Farke, but he's so glad he took part in a level one football coaching course.
When I told my friends I’d signed up to take a Level One coaching badge with the Football Association (FA), the main response was to question where I expected to find the spare time?
As you’d probably guess, being an editor in the digital world is a pretty time consuming job and when you throw two young children into the mix, it doesn’t leave many spare hours in the day.
However, having recently taken over the running of my son’s under 6s football side, Hethersett Athletic for those wondering where Norwich City’s next gems will appear from, gaining some idea of what I should actually be doing with them was vitally important.
Therefore, thanks to some wonderful support from the wife, much of the last few weeks have been spent at the Football Development Centre (FDC) in Bowthorpe learning all about the basics of football coaching, the FA’s vision for how the game should be enjoyed and even the basics of child welfare and first aid.
I’m going to use this column, therefore, to not only recommend the FA course to others - but also shout about what I believe are the over-riding benefits of just learning something new - no matter how busy your life might be.
For anyone into their football, and not even necessarily actively involved in the game, I would encourage you to consider the level one course.
It involves just over 30 hours of lesson time, which for me was spread out across three Saturday’s, a Sunday and a Tuesday, as well as a little bit of work from home.
The course is split between class-based activities and discussions and planning, holding and reviewing real-life training sessions, all of which are overseen by Norfolk FA’s qualified trainers.
The Norwich City fan in me was particularly delighted to turn up for week one to find that Keith Webb, former Canaries youth team coach during an era when players like Darren Eadie and Chris Sutton came through the ranks, was overseeing our course.
He, along with several colleagues, would lead us in discussions about wide-ranging topics including the ‘England DNA’, the importance of developing footballers as people, not just players, the ‘four-corner’ player development model and the nine principles of play.
It was those debates that were most fascinating, in particular a discussion as to why ‘tackling’ was not seen as a key principle of play by the FA. Basically it’s seen as a last resort and often means a defender ending up on their backside and out of the game. The slide-tackle loving centre back in me found that hard to get my head around.
It was clear our national FA has spent much time evaluating its approach to the game and moving towards a more modern way of operating and this even filters down to the most basic of coaches like myself.
Even at the very start of the coaching journey, you are made to feel like you are an important part of something bigger, much in the same way I’m led to believe Daniel Farke makes everyone at the club feel as vital to the cause as Teemu Pukki, Moritz Leitner and City’s other first-team stars.
By the end of the course (successfully passed), I felt refreshed and exhilarated by the thrill of learning something new. This takes me to the wider point.
In this era when working hours are much greater than before, stress an almost constant in many people’s lives and so many more struggle with problems around mental ill health, the value of learning something new should not be under-estimated.
It can benefit self-esteem and self-worth, improve confidence, help build a greater sense of purpose and help us to connect with others.
Oh and of course in my case it will no doubt lead me on a path to become a Norwich City manager at some point down the line!
So it doesn’t matter if it’s coaching, crocheting or computer programming - just make it your ambition to get out and learn something new.
* Visit norfolkfa.com for more on the level one course.