Tag: coaching


The FA Coach Mentor Programme is a major investment in the grassroots game and offers on-the-ground support to FA Charter Standard Clubs and coaches.

The FA sees the development of coaches as central to the development of the game, and working collaboratively accelerates learning and supports coaches’ development.

Mentoring support at a club could include:

  • Developing a whole club philosophy
  • Group coaching demonstrations
  • 1:1 coaching, match-day observation and support
  • Signposting to relevant courses and events
  • Needs analysis for individual coaches
  • Modelling of coaching sessions for individual coaches
  • Individual feedback
  • An individual learning programme

In 2015/16 the FA Coach Mentor Programme supported 9,383 coaches and 615 clubs.

Receive support from the Coach Mentor programme…

If you are part of an FA Charter Standard Club and would like receive some support from one of our FA Coach Mentors please contact your Football Development Officer at your local County FA and the Regional Coach Mentor Officer in your region (details below). When making initial contact please include your name, club name, number of teams and County FA affiliated to.

The Coaches Library HERE

The FA Coach Mentor Programme is also committed to providing 5000 hours per season specifically to work with BAME, female and disabled coaches across the country.

If you are a BAME coach and would like some support from one of our Coach Mentors, please contact Steve Smithies with your name, club name, age group and the County FA that you are affiliated to – steve.smithies@thefa.com.

If you are a female coach and would like some support from one of our Coach Mentors, please contact Samantha Griffiths with your name, club name, age group and the County FA that you are affiliated to – samantha.griffiths@thefa.com.

If you are a coach with a disability and would like some support from one of our Coach Mentors, please contact Kevin England with your name, club name, age group and the County FA that you are affiliated to – kevin.england@thefa.com.

Become an FA Coach Mentor…

If you are interested in becoming an FA Coach Mentor please check your local County FA website for vacancies. If no vacancies are available contact the Regional Coach Mentor Officer in your region (details below) who can provide an update of the programme in and around your area.

Pre-requisites to become an FA Coach Mentor are:

  • Minimum FA Level 2 in Coaching Football
  • Member of the FA Licensed Coaches Club
  • Valid FA CRB

Your Regional Mentor Officers…

North West – Steve Smithies – steve.smithies@thefa.com
North East – Graeme Carrick – graeme.carrick@thefa.com
East Midlands – Samantha Griffiths – samantha.griffiths@thefa.com
West Midlands – Andy Somers – andy.somers@thefa.com
East – Darren Moss – darren.moss@thefa.com
South East – Kevin England – kevin.england@thefa.com
London/ Armed Forces/ Jersey/ Guernsey – Kevin Green – kevin.green@thefa.com
South West – Ciara Allan – ciara.allan@thefa.com

‘Why do I only come on if we’re winning by loads or losing by loads?’

So why did I want to be a football coach and what did I think I would get out of it? The answer is not as simple as you might think. Actually it’s a bloody tough one to consider but I’ll try and be as honest as I can. When a parent looks over and notices that their child is a substitute it’s not a nice feeling. No parent ever hopes that their child will not be in the starting line-up. Internally you rationalise that it will be one of life’s lessons, or you might tell yourself that it is in the interest of fairness, and everyone must accept that they can’t play every game. It’s a fair selection process, nothing more and next week it will be someone else’s turn to sit it out.

But if you see this happen week after week it starts to become an emotional burden and difficult to bear witness to. After all, you live with this budding Lionel Messi; you’re the one who notices where he’s put his favourite teams’ calendar pride of place just where he can see it before he goes to sleep at night in his bedroom. The excited young wide eyed boy that asks you if you think they’ll play today as he busily struggles to get his socks over his shin pads. When my own son was 8 I asked him what he wanted to do when he left school. He told me he’d be a bus driver through the week and play for Manchester City at weekend. Innocence is a beautiful thing in children; everything is so black and white. Life is simple and anything is possible. How utterly disheartening then when you see that it is your child, yet again that is keeping his squad jacket on, that is freezing on the touchline patiently waiting for his coach to tell him to get warmed up.

It’s even worse if your son like mine, is the sort who will just stand there until he’s told to warm up. He would never dream of asking his manager when he’s going on. The car journey on the way home becomes abject misery. At first you can tell them that they’ll get their chance eventually. Then you tell them if they work hard, and keep trying, their chance will come. Then if you’re stupid like me, you’ll tell them it’s because they are not working hard enough. Our journey from hell was after a game for under 11’s in December 2013. It was a miserable wet and cold slate grey Manchester morning. The team were at home entertaining a local rival. I looked over as the lads warmed up with Coach hoping that my son might finally get to start a game.

He wasn’t their best player but he wasn’t their worst either. Not that that should matter. The parents were huddled closer than might be considered comfortable due the biting wind that was driving the Manchester rain into our faces. We were cold but at least we were dressed for it. The lads on the pitch were ringing wet through even in their training coats, and by now as muddy as they would have been if they’d have just played a full game. The referee, who looked about 90, and had the whitest skin I’ve ever seen, seemed not to notice the weather at all and offered a casual ‘morning’ to the Captain and the clad ensemble of parents that were eager for the game to get going. ‘Ref any chance of 5 minutes each way in this?’ one of the parents shouted, but the ref didn’t respond he was busy getting his linesman flags out of his bag. It is at this point as a parent that you have got to have your wits about you.

If you’re caught off guard and not paying full attention, you will eventually look up to see a referees flag practically shoved up your nose, and a ‘appreciate that, thanks’ message from the ref who has spun so quickly on his haunches, you can’t even recall the moment you accepted the flag into your hand. So that’s what Derren Brown does with his Saturday mornings….. Any attempt to pass the flag on yourself is rendered futile because, at that moment as you look at all the other dads, you realise that you are actually alone, and every other man and his dog has retreated to a safe distance of roughly fifteen feet away. ‘You X%$?X’ I turn to my wife and say pathetically, ‘I’ve got to do the flag again’ ‘mmm, you’ve made more appearances with that flag than our son has played all season’. I look at her apologetically, ‘get someone else to do it for a change’ she instructs. The dads looked at me apologetically, but not apologetically enough to actually take the flag. Derren Brown’s whistle signals kick off, I hastily get into position as linesman and look around the pitch for my son. He isn’t there, I look over at Coach and, oh yes there he is, the one shivering behind the other three subs. The game was 1-1 at half time which I knew meant that he wouldn’t be coming on any time soon.

Most of the parents including my wife had retreated to the safety of some trees to shelter from the downpour. I however had official flag business to attend to. I stood miserable and cold on one side of the pitch while my son was no doubt doing the same on the other. The second half saw us score another goal with just 10 minutes left. Great for the team but not so great for the subs. Coach did his best to get the lads on before the final whistle which saw my sons stats as “played 60 seconds, touches 0” As I walked towards the ref to give him his flag I heard him say to my boy ‘well played there young un’. I didn’t speak to coach after the game and we didn’t wait for his team talk.

The three of us just trudged to the car wet through and freezing cold. In the car he started pushing all the right buttons, ‘Why am I sub every week? ‘Why do I only come on if we are winning by loads or losing by loads?’

Why why why….

He was right of course, why indeed?

But I was as fed up about it as he was. I didn’t want see other people’s kids playing football every week. And so I snapped, at my ten year old son, who just wanted to be in a team, play football and drive buses.


Mini Soccer Summer Festival Under 7s

Tournament Name: Mini Soccer Summer Festival Under 7s
Tournament Date: 26/08/2017
Tournament Organiser: Micky Tully
Tournament Web Address: www.goalsfootbal.co.uk
Team Age Groups: Under 7’s
Entry Fee per team: £15.00
Tournament Email Address: newcastle@goalsfootball.co.uk
Address 1: Goals Newcastle
Address 2: High Gosforth Park
Town: Newcastle Upon Tyne
Post Code: NE3 5HP
Tournament Image: Mini Soccer u7s_quq9mx.jpg
Tournament Information: Summer Festival will run from 10am-2pm, Food & Hot Drinks Available through the event, Free parking at our club. Every child will get a medal for day part in the Festival.

RIP – Shropshire Coach dies of suspected heart attack at football session

It is with great sadness that teacher and Allscot U14 manager Craig Colley, who was head of the English department at Lakelands Academy in Ellesmere, died whilst at the regular evening training session of Shrewsbury Juniors Football Club last wednesday.

Official club statement;

It is with sadness and deep regret that we have to release a status on coach Craig Colley, who sadly passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday evening.

Craig was fairly new to the Allscott setup, joining this summer to form the new U14 side and his impression was felt amongst us all.

His passion, desire and love for the game, his players and parents was something to behold.

Our first team will hold a moments reflection before their game this weekend in honour of Craig.

Our thoughts are with his wife Michelle, daughter Rhian, son Finn and all of his family at this sad time. #WeAreAllscott

Image credit Shropshire Star

Roach Dynamos Jfc

Tournament Name: Roach Dynamos Jfc
Tournament Date: 05/08/2017
Tournament Organiser: Melanie Greenhalgh
Tournament Web Address: www.roachdynamos.com
Team Age Groups: Under 7’s, Under 8’s, Under 9’s, Under 10’s, Under 11’s
Entry Fee per team: 45.00
Tournament Email Address: melaniegreenhalgh@yahoo.com
Address 1: Roach Dynamos Jfc
Address 2: Sutherland Road, Darnhill
Town: Heywood
Post Code: OL10 3PL
Tournament Image: CAD27768-F5E4-4523-BD3D-634CE0D91AD0_1r9e89.jpg
Tournament Information: Parking Available £2

Have we forgotten what kids football is for?

It’s really sad that people have forgotten what kids football is really about.

  • Is it about winning at all costs? No!
  • Is it about politics between parents/coaches? No!

We know, the same as in a lot of life situations that some children are more talented than others in sport. The same as I know there are people out there that are better brain surgeons than me.

Should we make the children feel inadequate because of this? Absolutely not! Should we involve the children in club rivalry? No! Should there even be club rivalry at grassroots level??!! As long as they’re playing and having the time of their life’s getting caked in mud on a Sunday morning.. what else matters?

We’re draining the life’s out of these kids week in week out.. The question is would I love my children and be any more proud of them than I am now if they were to be signed to an academy tomorrow..? The answer to that is.. I couldn’t possibly love or be more proud of my children no matter what they do!

I have a son that is a goalkeeper that makes some actual WORLD CLASS saves that I couldn’t..even if I tried stop myself.. and he thinks nothing of scoring goal kicks every now and then.. does he make mistakes.. yes… don’t we all!! But he loves what he does! And so do I!! I have another son.. that takes free kicks like I’ve never seen a 7 year old child take before, he’d put Beckham to shame and that’s not even being biased it’s been said by many people.. is he the strongest player on the pitch? No.. But do I burst with pride every time he touches the ball.. yes!

Download the Grassroots Report It APP Here

I have a TEAM full of players that have their own unique little things that make my Sundays and hopefully their Sundays amazing.. are they lucky to have me as their coach… No.. I’m the lucky one!! I don’t vision that we’re going to go on and be world beaters but that doesn’t mean them nor I don’t put the effort in each week purely on the basis that we love the game! No matter what, I can say I’ve taken part in their DEVELOPMENT not only as football players.. but actual human beings as well.

We have a right old laugh week in week out.. At the end of most games they’ll literally come and pile on me and bring tears to my eyes with the little smiles on their faces beaming up at me, hanging on my every word.

It doesn’t end there.. as I don’t just run a team.. I run a club.. and everyone that is part of our club I am proud of.. more so the kids.. after all.. they are what make it!! Let’s give them something back! They are not machines….please for the love of god stop treating them this way!

Yours sincerely,

Disheartened grassroots football manager.

Play of the Week – Pass and move

Give this great warm up and try and let us know how you get on.

Split your coaching area into 4

Once ball has been passed, encourage your players to be vocal and ask for it back in another zone.

No player to remain static.

This should be a noisy session as players ask, receive and request the ball back.

Progression via adding opposing defenders.

Get more FREE coaching session plans by clicking the image below


With teams returning back to training over the next few weeks, Pete Sturgess, FA National Coach for players aged 5-11, outlines ten top-tips to help get young players ready for the new season.

The tips below are based on guidance from the England DNA Foundation Phase project – which you can read more about below –  and are aimed at those working with young players aged 5-12 for a six week period before the season starts.

1) You’re coaching children, not adults

Getting young children ready for the new season is not the same as the preparation an adult player might be involved in. Pre-season for adults has long been associated with running laps and doing ‘doggies’ until exhaustion. If you are coaching children you must allow all sessions to be enjoyable, exciting and active. This should also be the aim at any stage of the season, not just through the summer.

2) Use fun movement activities

Warm-ups for our young players should be engaging, enjoyable and active. Look to include a wide range of movements and activities that are fun to be involved in such as running, chasing, dodging, jumping, twisting and turning. Get the children laughing and out of breath.  Include throwing and catching where you can. Games like tag rugby or dodgeball are great warm-ups.

3) The ball

All players attend training so they can play football and have lots of touches of the ball. Make sure you use the ball in your sessions as much as possible.

4) Play a variety of games

Play lots of small-sided games using different numbers of players and on pitches of different sizes. Getting the players playing matches is a great thing to include early on in both an individual session and in the six week programme.  Try and play the format of football you play on matchday- this might be 6v6 or 7v7.

5) Big group, big area

During the first couple of weeks find time to involve all the players as one big group (or two smaller groups) working in larger areas. This lowers the intensity at the start of pre-season and eases the players back into action.

6) Make things harder as the weeks go on

Smaller groups in smaller areas can be introduced as the weeks progress. 4v4 would be perfect after week three(particularly if for the previous two weeks you have played 6v6 or even 7v7). For each session think about how you can make it slightly harder for the players by increasing the time spent on the task.

7) Create individual challenges

Respect each child as an individual and adapt the session or challenge for them. Over the six weeks (and throughout the season) try to pair or group players together for different outcomes so that their individual needs are met more often.

8) Add variety

 If you train more than once a week, try to vary the kind of things you work on during sessions. Try to change the session theme so that the players are not always undertaking the same repetitive actions.

9) Concise communication followed by chance to practise

With all the activities and games you use try to give small amounts of clear and simple help and advice followed by lots of opportunities for the players to practise. Always add lots of encouragement.

10) Make sure that the players want to come back

It is very important that your summer sessions involve play, enjoyment and football. Playing games in training is vital so get the group into small-sided games as much as possible. Create something so special that the players cannot wait for the next session.

This article was originally created for The FA’s England DNA Foundation Phase project

Being the kid of the coach isn’t always the best thing….

Written from the heart of a Coach / Parent.

Being the kid of the coach isn’t always the best thing…. or so my child tells me, regardless of what many may think.

Sitting here listening to my child as they plead to miss training and asking to go to the beach or park instead whilst the sun is shining….

Sorry, I coach the team I can’t just cancel training last minute….

It made me sit back and think…..!!

When you coach and you have your own child on your team at times it can really pull on your heart strings.

If players decide to have a night off to do something fun with their family then they just don’t come to training. When your own child wants too do something else that night you still have to keep training on as you don’t want to let the team down.

Usually your child has to be ready earlier and at training earlier (sometimes to help set up)

Footy Mum Special Offer

When your children play their match I sometimes envy the amount of praise and hugs you can give them as they run for a drink…..  I praise my child but conscious of over praising in case it gets seen as favouritism, which ironically usually results in not enough praise given to them at all.

My focus is on the whole team…. sometimes I miss what my own child does.

Don’t get me wrong, I love coaching, I really enjoy running the team, I thrive on all the kids achieving.

But sometimes it don’t half pull on your heart when your child wants you to be there at their match just for them, to just watch them and to just support them… like all the other kids on the team.

So I would just like to give a little shoutout to all the kids who’s parents coach and run teams… thank you for sharing your time with your parents to help them to help others.

And to all parents who coach and will understand some of the issues and problems you face when your own child plays for you. I take my hat off too you,  at times it can be really difficult and at times you don’t really know if your doing right from wrong but you still try your very best to benefit all. . Thank you to you.. and you’re doing a great job


A Coaches worth is found in the impact that they have on their players lives.

A coaches worth isn’t found in their win/loss record or on the resume of which team they have coached, it is found in the impact that they have on their players lives.

 “A good coach takes his love for the game and instills it in you. They mould you into the player they see inside of you and watch your talent and dedication grow into a skill that you both can be proud of. Coaches payoff is the smile they see when you’ve reached your goal. Their drive is the tears you cry because you want it so bad, knowing that he has the same feeling inside him is what motivates the player”


A good coach often without realising or even trying when will help a child fall in love with the game they love and hopefully have a lifelong involvement in some capacity be it playing, coaching, refereeing etc.

Instilling the value of teamwork, sportsmanship, integrity, honesty and respect are equally important into a child’s outlook on sport and life.

Thanks Coach only £5.99

Children should look back in adulthood at there grassroots years with fondness and remember there coach, most will hold there coach in high regard.

Speaking from personal experience I can honestly say my years playing grassroots were fantastic, made so by my coach. A man I still look up to, the first person in my thoughts when I need advice and the first person I will ring for a beer.

Because you see a coaches worth isn’t found in their win/loss record or on the resume of which team they have coached, it is found in the impact that they have on their players lives.

Are British players being stifled of creative ingenuity

Result orientated football and emphasis on a passing game strips away ingenuity, whilst pressure from adults promotes the player to make the safe option. “None of that silly stuff”. How many times have you heard an adult shout that?

There are very few coaches and adults that promote and prioritise ball mastery and tricks in this country, certainly not in a game situation.

Recently, I saw footage of a foreign boy beating players with brilliant individual trickery – and instantly I thought, I’m not hopeful I will ever see that within the English game at any level.

FREE Grassroots Coaching HERE

Think back to the England national side playing some of the ‘minnows’. Iceland at the Euros for example. The recurring theme throughout is a boring English display struggling to break down defences, players lacking confidence and creativity to beat players 1v1. If only we had a Ronaldo, Messi, Robben, Hazard, Ronaldinho, Zidane, Cantona, Maradonna…it’s never going to happen if things remain. Why?

Academies and the like appear to be doing more damage than good too. The pressure for kids to keep their place brings about a sense of fear. Status and compliance with the norm overrides any potential brilliance and the desire to reveal world class talent. A professional academy is not perceived to be the place to try different things. Make mistakes and potentially embarrass yourself? God forbid – that craziness is for the back garden only. At the worst, one wrong move and you could be out. At the best the onlooking dad will criticise afterwards.

That foreign kid in the footage, how many times do you think he made errors before he pulled his wizardry off? One thing doing it in the garden – another pulling it off on the pitch.

I’ve spent enough time in the presence of football academies, schools and UEFA qualified coaches and I can count on one hand the step-overs I’ve seen. Not one flip flap, maybe the odd roulette, Cruyff turns yes but not a McGeady turn, the odd Rabona in play yes, but nothing like the skills we should be seeing. Too much “get the ball on the deck and play football”. Only Gazza gets close. And the proof – how many English lads play on the continent?

Kids need to be taught a vast library of skills and tricks, like a dictionary of basic English vocabulary. And be encouraged to take that into games from an early age.

Firstly, the adults need educating. I cringe when I see a brave young pro run at defenders and lose the ball. Not because the player may have lost possession but because of the inevitable stick he’s about to receive from the ‘fans’. Immediately his confidence is knocked. If he’s fortunate to stay on the pitch you can guarantee he will play the ball sideways or backwards next time he’s in possession.

Occasionally, there are exceptions to the rule. Germany’s work rate, discipline and team work help them achieve more often than not. But as for England, without truly world class individual talent (and that’s far more than athletes with speed) the quarter finals is probably the best we can hope for and as other nations improve our ambitions could even be reduced to simply qualifying for major tournaments.

The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried – grass roots ‘success’ should not be about winning, poaching or even passing the Barcelona way. It should be about freedom to express repeatedly without fear of failure the ambition to instinctively beat your opponent with skill.

Author  Christian Polzin

We are not professionals, but we stepped up when the kids needed someone. 

For the majority of us, we coach or manage our football team because it gives us a sense of joy. We enjoy the feeling we get when we help a child achieve something within the game that makes their face light up.

We’re not professionals, but we were the ones that stepped forward to run the team when others didn’t.

And that is the point. We are not professionals, nor do we claim to be. We’ve all sat on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in our armchair and shouted at the television as if we know better but we know, deep down, that we are no Pep Guardiola. Some of us, fortunately not myself, have come across parents who believe that they could be but ultimately they, like ourselves, had the chance to run the team but shirked away at the opportunity.

I’ve heard the horror stories. I’ve witnessed them in fact. I began coaching at an early age, helping run a local team at aged only 17. I stopped shortly before my 24th birthday to concentrate on the birth of my first son safe in the knowledge that my coaching days were over (little did I know that only six years later I would have a team of my own). Several years ago, whilst helping out with the aforementioned local team, I witnessed one woman actually slap the manager because her son had been named as a substitute. These are the kind of stories we hear about almost on a weekly basis.

But that is not my point.  My point goes back to the fact that we are not professionals. We have full-time jobs in which we fit the running of our team around our already hectic day-to-day schedules. Now I am the first to admit that when I was first ‘awarded’ the manager title I felt out of my depth. Granted, I had coached before but not six and seven-year-old children. I didn’t have a clue where to start. However, shortly after I struck gold.

Thanks Coach

I am fortunate enough to be involved with a club that has many years experience when it comes to running a club at grassroots level. They had found a UEFA B licensed coach who was willing to help out and take a block of training sessions for whichever of our teams felt that they would benefit from some professional coaching. The fee was small, minimal when taking into account the small fee which we charge for training anyway, and all of my parents were willing to pay an additional £1 each to take up this opportunity.

I can’t stress enough how much this benefited everyone involved. The children learnt plenty and I picked up some invaluable tips that I feel have made me a better coach all-round. From how to treat the children in a manner that is fun but still gains respect, to drills and football related games which keep every child engaged at all times, hence stopping them from becoming bored.

I took this coach on for a four week block before our season began and it definitely helped my team prepare themselves from the massive step up involved from training to their first matches as grassroots players.

I can’t recommend this approach highly enough. The whole experience enabled the team to form a bond which perhaps I could not have achieved. I’m not a professional and neither, at least not yet, are any of the children. Getting help from one was a great experience and I would jump at the chance to do it again. It’s not a permanent thing, it’s almost a treat and the children loved every minute of it. Unfortunately for myself (not so much the man himself), the coach was snapped up by Manchester City shortly after to help run their new academy in China.

There’s no shame in asking for help. In fact, taking that jump does have major benefits for all involved.

Jamie Ward