It has been a busy month of coach education for Newcastle United Foundation. Our Coach the Coach initiative celebrated its third anniversary in February with a special seminar from Brian Ashton MBE. The former Bath, Ireland and England Rugby Head Coach was joined in the Sir Bobby Robson Suite by fifty local grassroots coaches keen to learn from an internationally respected coach and coach educator.
Brian delivered a two-hour lecture on his coaching background, philosophies and training methods which proved to be an enlightening insight into the practice of such a respected trainer. After the event Brian said "I enjoyed the evening with your coaches. It is a welcome change to work with an audience of non-rugby players. As a coach, I think that being unique and constantly creative without losing sight of the bigger purpose and picture are vital in developing players at all levels".
The Coach the Coach Clinic initiative then went on tour last weekend with a trip to the new National Football Centre, St George's Park. Forty-two dedicated grassroots coaches boarded the bus and joined the Foundation football development team on the journey to Burton on Trent for an inspiring day. The day started with a tour of the entire centre which is the home of FA Learning and The FA's Educational Department. Coaches got to see the full-sized indoor third generation football pitch, the multipurpose indoor sports hall, the 11 full size outdoor pitches and the elite training pitch which is an exact replica of Wembley.
Former Foundation employee Ben Dawson, now FA Youth Educator and Paul Holder, FA National Development Coach (12-16) then delivered an afternoon of practical sessions with the help of the under 12's squad from the nearby Burton Albion FC. The sessions were aimed at developing players who can dribble past defenders and create goal scoring chances. The practical work was enjoyed immensely by the players and observing coaches.
Foundation Football Development Manager Neil Winskill said; "Today has been a triumph. The grassroots coaches who have made the three hour journey have seen the wonderful environment in which our national association aims to develop the next crop of football talent. Ben and Paul put on two excellent sessions and I hope those in attendance take inspiration as well as information to use with their own players back home".
Dave Malone, coach at Cramlington United who attended the event commented; "The Coach the Coach Clinics have been of direct benefit to myself and my club as we continue to develop. Personally I've taken away tips, session plans, seen how a number of different coaches from a variety of levels work with players and also made a number of contacts with coaches in the local area. There is always at least one point I can take back to my own team".