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
Within Guernsey, three local Charter Standard accredited clubs, being Rovers, Sylvans and Rangers, have been benefitting from the support being provided by Steve Sharman and Mike Garnett who are the appointed Coach Mentors for the Guernsey FA and provide this support on behalf of the local governing body. Sharman has been working specifically with the coaches, officials and parents at Rovers and provided an insight into this work when commenting:
‘The focus of my work with Rovers AC this season is two- fold. Firstly to support the existing minis volunteers, coaches and helpers, to explore how they interact and work with the children in a manner that is fundamentally fun but also age appropriate. This is the second year that I have worked with Rovers and I have been really impressed with how the volunteer coaches have challenged themselves to be creative, innovative and thought provoking in their delivery. Whether it is how they devise ‘joining’ activities’, use age appropriate ‘language’ or use numerous sources to find interesting ‘practices’ they continue to deliver a great football opportunity to the young players.
My role is to guide and support rather than assess or judge and in doing so keep the volunteers involved in the game not because of a duty but a clear enjoyment. There is so much to be gained by volunteering but in a busy, time poor society the role can often be a burden if not recognised and nurtured. The link with Rovers is attempting to address that balance retaining in the first instance but also looking to recruit new volunteers.
This season I have started to work with some parents exploring the journey between regular touchline observers to helpers to eventually coaches. The time old traditional manner of becoming a minis coach is being re-written at Rovers. Some of the fears and barriers are being taken away and they are being taken through how to create the correct safe environment (pitch), to use a variety of tactics to help the children learn (ball) and finally how to communicate that brings the environment and ball into a game.
The hope and aim is that these volunteers become the advocates for other parents to bridge that gap and to realise that football is just the vehicle to impart great life skills to young people.’
When reflecting on the value and importance of the support being provided to the club, Rovers coach, Barry Moroney commented that:
‘All involved in the delivery of minis football at Rovers are benefitting for a second successive season from the input of Steve Sharman as part of the Football Association's coach mentoring programme. Steve was initially approached by Rovers with a view to providing advice and support to the coaches of the club's minis football section. Discussions between Steve and the Rovers minis coaches on how best to provide this support saw the coaches sign up to The Rovers Way - Fun Through Football which sets out what players, parents and coaches can expect from their involvement with Rovers minis football.
Steve's involvement helped the coaches to reinforce a culture where all boys and girls are given equal opportunity to enjoy and play football at Port Soif. Steve then worked with a number of year group coaches last season to help achieve this, mainly focusing on just letting children play and allowing them the freedom to make, and learn from, their own mistakes. The feedback from the coaches, children and parents that Steve has worked with has been very positive and Steve will continue to support these and other coaches this season.
Like many sporting organisations, Rovers are looking at different ways of encouraging new volunteers to help out at Port Soif. From discussion with parents, many advised that they would like to assist with minis coaching but couldn't commit to being present every weekend or were concerned they didn't know enough about football to help out. Steve is currently working with a group of parents at Rovers who will help out with minis coaching when when some of the club's regular coaches are unavailable. Part of Steve's work with this group is focusing on demystifying football coaching and showing parents how coaches of children at this age are more football facilitators than anything else!
Steve's mentoring work with Rovers minis coaches is helping existing coaches to continually assess their coaching practices and principles and also showing potential new coaches how they can assist the club with it's delivery of minis football.’
For more information about the FA Coach Mentoring programme, please contact Football Development Officer, Angus Mackay;
Email - Angus.firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel - 01481 200443