Expert youth coaches from across the country attended St. George’s Park this week for the first ever FA Advanced Youth Award.
The prestigious youth specific coaching qualification is the latest addition to The FA Coaching pathway.
With a rigorous learning programme and assessment procedure equivalent to the demands of the UEFA A Licence, the new course is the pinnacle of The FA’s youth coaching pathway.
Steve Rutter, The FA’s Coach Education Manager and Course Director, stressed how the holistic development of young players is a crucial element of the new award.
“The qualification is aimed at equipping the coaches with the skills around the overall development of players,” he explained.
“It integrates the coaching of football with other disciplines and looks more into the roles of psychology, social development, physiological effects of growing up and maturation.”
Coaches from the professional game, including Brian McClair, Manchester United’s Academy Director as well as staff from The FA, the Premier League and the Football League came together as part of the inaugural course.
Understanding each of the four areas of development in greater detail was the aim of part one of the course which lasted for six days.
“We need the coaches to be able to bring all the four things back together to make it more interdisciplinary and understand the impacts of one area on another.”
The coaches will now undertake a number of follow-up sessions which are bespoke to the age-group they coach.
The FA Coaching pathway provides extensive opportunities to specialise as a youth coach across three different phases: 5-11, 12-16 and 17-21 years old.
Rutter stressed that developing specialist coaches is an important aim for the future of the game.
“I think there is more recognition now that if, like me, you have a child in primary school you want the teacher overseeing their education to be a real specialist working with children of those ages.”
“It is vitally important that we get people who understand that and we give coaches who want to specialise a real route to progress their own understanding and skill set in that area.
“So the more we can get specialised coaches in the various ages and stages the better it will be long term for the development of English players.”
For more information about The FA’s Coaching pathway and The FA Youth Awards visit www.TheFA.com/sgp