As a player i have been lucky enough to play under both "good" and "bad" coaches. Part of me believes that those coaches i would place under the "bad" category have the potential to be a lot better than their attitudes towards developing talent shows. As a player i have always observed my coaches methods and philosphies, if they had a philosphy, as i knew from an early age that coaching was the path i wished to go down. While i have the utmost respect for any person involved in voluntaty coaching my opinions on whether "Old School" or "New Gen" coaches are better for grass roots football are outlined below.
While there is no substitute for experienced coaches i believe that the majority of "old school" coaches i have encountered have developed a pattern of training that needs to change to meet the standards that we hope to achieve as a football family.
During my time as a player i have had the experience of working under coaches that believe that a team must be fit. Granted. But to have that as the main emphasis of training was a bit disheartening as it wasn't athletics i signed up for. Running laps of a pitch may be good for increasing stamina but when it becomes more of a monotomous trod along that starts off every session rather than a game related exercise i think that is where we are being mugged off as players. I believe that this mindset needs to change, gone are the days that players who are physically fit and strong rule the pitch. Clever players with crafty technique are coming to the forefront of the modern game. Rightfully so. My biggest fear for the advancement of football is that at grass roots level the level of coaching is not moving in tandem with the evolution of the game.
How much time does your coach spend working on Ball Mastery? Passing? Agilty? Speed? Balance?
Do they incorporate these into a game related drill that develops stamina naturally as we train?
Are all "old school" coaches "bad" coaches? No way and vice versa with "new gen" coaches, some of the best coaches i have had are "old school" but they have adapted their understandings of how the game is being played and developed training sessions around that.
From my experience as a coach and from talking to other coaches is that not enough is being done by our FA to promote coach education. From personal experience i have sent off three emails and rang twice about the availabilty of a coaching seminar by our regional development officer, Each one without a reply. To progress to my next coaching badge i have to spend weekends away in Dublin which is over 200km away as from looking at their website they dont run the course in my home town. Considering there is 20 underage clubs in a relatively small town. With clubs registering teams from Under 11 right up to Under 19. The majority of coaches i know are either on their first two badges or haven't done the courses at all.
Should these be made mandatory? I believe so. Should the FAI do more to promote coach education? Absolutely, but it should be on the coach to take responsibilty to further their education and maximise his/her potential as a coach. By doing so we can have a major influence on the standard of football at grass roots level which has a knock on effect right up to international level.
As a young coach i feel the need to familarise myself with "New Gen" ideas which promote ball control, passing, movement etc. From my observations i wish that the more experienced coaches would embrace these ideas too. I believe if experience and new ideas were conjoined there would be a huge increase in the standards of coaching available to players. Benefiting our communities, the individuals and the beautiful game that we love in the process.